This sermon is part of the sermon series "No Wonder They Crucified Him". See series.
Matthew's gospel says that, toward the end of his three years of public ministry, "Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." Hearing this, "Peter took [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never happen to you!'"
What Jesus then said in the face of this apparent devotion consistently forces me to define discipleship in terms that I don't think I'd ever get to by my self. The Bible says that "Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.' Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.'"
There are few words Jesus ever spoke that are scarier, I think, than these ones here. That's particularly true when you contrast them with some of his other invitations. When Jesus says, "Come dine with me"—come experience my fulfillment—most of us are pleased to accept. When Christ says, "Come do life with me"—experience the difference my companionship makes—many of us are naturally intrigued. When Jesus says, "Come dance with me"—come experience my joy—it seems like a good deal to follow him.
But when he says what he says here … when Jesus says, "Come die with me"—come take up a cross with me, come experience my death—there is something in almost all of us that cries out with the ...
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