Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked in with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.
Simon Peter had just said that Jesus was the Messiah, Son of the Living God. Silence hung in the air. Jesus smiled.
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.
Why did he have to die, I thought. He’s the conquering Messiah that’s bringing the Kingdom of God.
Peter walked up and took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
There was a gasp among us as a group. You’re not supposed to reprimand your teacher.
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.”
Wow, Jesus was angry. He looked at us, his eyes meeting ours.
Then Jesus said to us disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
A cross? I thought. The Romans forced you to carry the crossbeam through a mocking crowd. Jesus is calling for complete devotion to even the cost of this life for eternal life. Jewish teachers never asked their disciples to follow them at the cost of their lives, just to honor them always.
“Is he the Son of Man that Daniel speaks of,” Nathaniel asks Matthew.
“That’s how he’s describing himself,” answered Matthew.