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SUNDAY REFLECTIONS: Take up Your Cross Daily and Follow Jesus Christ

MEDITATION: Jesus told his disciples that he must first suffer rejection, be crucified, and then rise again on the third day. In so many words he explained that there could be no victory and no glory without the cross. Jesus’ prediction of his suffering and death on the cross caused his disciples great dismay and disbelief. Peter, who was often the first to react to whatever Jesus had to say, wanted to protect Jesus from any threat or harm. That is why he rebuked the very thought of Jesus having to face rejection, condemnation, and crucifixion.

“My way or God’s way”
Why did Jesus use the word “Satan” when he addressed Peter? When Jesus went out into the wilderness to prepare for his public ministry, Satan came to tempt him to follow a different path than the one chosen by the Father in heaven. Now Jesus recognizes in Peter’s response another temptation to seek a different and less costly path for accomplishing his mission than the way of the cross. The word “Satan” literally means “adversary” – one who stands in opposition. Jesus reminds Peter that his role is not to be an adversary but a disciple – one who gets behind his Master to follow with trust and obedience.

Victory and glory through the cross
Jesus knew that the cross was the only way he could ransom us from slavery to sin with the price of his blood which was shed for our freedom. Through his sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus defeated Satan who held us in bondage to sin and condemnation. And Jesus defeated the power of death and overcame the grave through his resurrection. Through his obedience to his heavenly Father’s will, Jesus reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His death on the cross won pardon for the guilty, freedom for the oppressed, healing for the afflicted, and new life for those condemned to death. His death makes possible our freedom to live as the adopted sons and daughters of the merciful Father in heaven.

What will you give to God in exchange for freedom and eternal life? Are you ready to part with anything that might keep you from following the Lord Jesus and his perfect plan for your life? Jesus poses these questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile in life. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person. It is possible that some can gain all the things they have set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important thing of all. Of what value are material things if they don’t help you gain what truly lasts for eternity. Neither money nor possessions can buy heaven, mend a broken heart, or cheer a lonely person.

Losing all to gain all with Jesus Christ
A true disciple gladly gives up all that he or she has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish. The cross of Jesus Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ? © 2020 Servants of the Word, source:  dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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