Peter Confesses That Jesus is the Christ

It was Timothy McVeigh who thought of himself first. On his own, he decided that he had the right to plant a bomb at a government building in Oklahoma City. That act took the lives of many people, including a number of children whom McVeigh callously described as collateral dam … More

Selfishness

Jesus wants the Christian to go beyond knowing what others believe by making their faith personal (vv. 18-20). He then predicts his death for the first time (vv. 21-22). He goes on to say to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (v. 23). Taking up our cross may not be a very pleasant thought, but it is a very necessary one. I think that in America the church has often changed the expression, “take up your CROSS and follow Christ,” to “take up your CAUSE and follow Christ.” Self, self-interest, self-seeking, and self-love are not viewed as a great evil, but instead have become the great mandate, to be placed higher in priority than the commands of the Bible to love God and to love our neighbor. Jesus is telling us that Living is about Dying (vv. 23-24). Jesus is speaking to each of us, and telling us what every true follower must do. If we are ashamed of the Lord and His message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of us when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and the holy angels (vv. 25-27).

The Lord’s Prayer contains that wonderful phrase that calls us to live a life that is not self-centered, but God centered. “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” The self-centered life makes us think that we are the most important thing in the universe - but we’re not. The self-centered life prevents us from understanding the needs of others. And yet, our very nature causes us to be self-centered rather than God centered. Would you, like Jesus, have carried the burden of that cross? Probably not. Most of us do not pray with sincerity, “Thy will be done.” We think in terms of “not THY will, but MY will be done.”

Application

We pray that God’s will would be done, but we live our lives praying that OUR will would be done. I really want to quit praying like this and truly mean it when I say, “May your will be done.”

Luke 9:18-27 (English Standard Version)

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" And they answered, "John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen." Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God." And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God."

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