Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Gospel from this week is from Matthew 16:21-28. Here Jesus speaks plainly about his coming suffering, death, and resurrection. Peter’s rebuke seems fitting to most of us. After all, do we really want to see Jesus, or anyone else, for that matter, arrested, suffering, and being killed? All right. I do recognize that there are some times when we do think we’d like to see someone in trouble and even dead. But we need to ask ourselves what Jesus’ plan is in all this.
Jesus’ rebuke of Peter makes perfect sense. Jesus has a plan. It includes rising from the dead. It includes laying down his life for the profit of the whole world. Jesus’ plan will specifically rescue Peter from eternal death. This is the plan of God. Peter’s plan, on the other hand, is to rescue Jesus from God’s plan.
Jesus says very clearly in verse 25 that our attempts to save ourselves will come to nothing. It is laying down our life to follow Jesus which will make us also participate in his resurrection. When the Father returns to repay us on the last day, he will give those who have followed Jesus the life of resurrection. He will give those who have followed their temporal concerns all the reward of those temporal concerns. I’d rather be concerned with eternity. I hope everyone reading this will also.
What about this world then? Are we being so spiritually minded that we are of no earthly good? Not at all. Jesus’ commands here clearly include following Jesus and his word. That includes going about our daily lives as messengers of God’s love and care. It includes feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and encouraging those who are losing hope. Simply because the Christian life is not limited to temporal affairs doesn’t at all imply that it is not concerned with those matters. But we look beyond this earthly life to Jesus’ resurrection. That is where our hope lies.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.