Mark 8:31-38; 9:1
Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.
Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!”
Jesus knew the plan. He knew the end of the assignment. Wonder if Peter spoke what they all felt? Summer camp was always so much fun, the relationships that were built in a community, the play and learning together. When it came to a close, you didn’t want it to end… The disciples and Jesus were community, learning and teaching together. That would be hard to let go of. Peter’s vision was limited. His words were a hindrance to the completion of the assignment. Jesus saw that and rebuked it.
Our vision, is it limited? Do we share all of what is necessary for the kingdom to come in our vision? “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it… Life at home in contrast to camp was seen as difficult. We have work before us, the warmth and closeness of that week or two gives way to life’s routine, its ups and downs, pains and joys. Hang on to your life, you will lose it…my will not yours? Are we doing all we can through Christ? Is His Word active and alive in us? Or are we hanging on to our lives? The kingdom of God can arrive for each of us when we let go of ‘our life’, ‘our will’ and take on the cross and all it contains. We won’t have to stop at the death and shame of the cross, we will move on to the resurrection that follows and that will be greater than ‘camp’.
Take up the cross, be all we can be, be that one He says we are, do the things we can do through Christ, have the Word alive and active in us!