In Matthew 16:25, Jesus says, "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Let's face it, most of us are really trying to save our lives, aren't we? I once read an article about house churches in China that were going through an unusual teaching series: when imprisoned for your faith, how can you know whether God wants you to escape or stay imprisoned to encourage other prisoners. Now that's a different way to think about your Christian experience, isn't it? Today, let's listen to a passage that can help us think differently about how we can live our lives:
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:21-23)
In today's passage, Jesus told the disciples that He would go to Jerusalem to suffer, be killed, and then be raised to life. The disciples didn't like it. Matthew tells us that Peter really didn’t like it and began to rebuke Jesus: "Never Lord! This will never happen to You!" Peter may have thought he had Jesus' best interests at heart, but Jesus put a stop to it. “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” In other words, Peter was not thinking like God. Jesus refused to be sidetracked from accomplishing His mission. It wasn't His mission to escape persecution. His mission was to live a sinless life, die a horrible and undeserved death on a cross, and then rise from death. He wouldn't consider the idea that He might escape crucifixion. Jesus didn't risk His life; He gave His life. Our mission as Jesus' followers is not to escape persecution. It isn't to save our lives and it isn't to preserve our comfortable lifestyles. Our mission is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus and to serve Him faithfully, whatever comes.
How about you today? Are you trying to save your life? I'm speaking to myself today, as well. The Kingdom of God is not about our personal comfort. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, it may turn out to be costly. Are you following Jesus today...wherever He takes you?