We follow the news until it becomes so upsetting or heartbreaking that we can’t take it any longer. We follow the weather as if we can’t go look outside and decide for ourselves what is going on. We follow the feed on Facebook to see what’s new with our friends. We follow the latest trends in cars, clothes, and even ministry tools and methods. We follow friends who seem to have it all together much more than we do. We follow store ads to get the best deal in town. We follow other media advertising that tells us what we must have before we knew it is a “must have”.
We also follow stories of celebrities with tag lines that entice us to click more than a few times to get the juicy gossip when the “big” story is just another ad about the latest diet trend. We follow others into the life of game playing online which is addicting but gives us something mindless to do with no real responsibility. We even follow family members who correct, criticize and betray us but they are family so we must be wrong and they must be right about us. We love them so we follow them. We also are drawn to follow people who do not believe in God, who live only to please and satisfy themselves in sports, media, and and other leadership forms. We follow because they seem to be successful so…
You get the picture. We are massive followers…of all that are “merely human concerns” as Jesus explains in this passage.
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 From that time on 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.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 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.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 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? 27 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.
28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
THINK ABOUT IT
We follow to gain more and more, not to lose. To lose makes us, well, losers. No one likes a loser! But this is exactly what Jesus is asking us to do. LOSE what are “merely human concerns” for all that concerns the Kingdom of God.
“Whoever loses their life for me will find it.” We are good at following. We are not as good at following who and what(life) is best for us. We need to decide daily WHO we follow.
“Choose THIS day whom you will serve” says Joshua to God’s people who were choosing everything but God. “Mere human concerns” had a hold on them, too. So Joshua takes a stand and proclaims;
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
Choose well. Take a stand. It is a matter of life or death.
PETER LEARNS THE LESSON OF FOLLOW…
Peter the “stone” who had just been blessed (Matt. 16:18) became Peter the stumbling block who was not a blessing to Jesus! What was Peter’s mistake? He was thinking like a
man, for most men want to escape suffering and death.
He did not have God’s mind in the matter. He thought “merely of human concerns.” Later Peter indeed picked up his own cross and followed Jesus!
So, who are we following today? Who owns our souls?
Who owns your soul? Who owns my soul?
It depends on our thinking. Are we thinking merely human or greater heavenly kingdom concerns?
My choice is Jesus. Follow Jesus. Lose everything else that hinders or distracts you from Him. The gain is far more than we can imagine or dream. God’s promise.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You have proven your love to us over and over again. You are God and we are not. You love us so much you died so that we might have life eternal. You rose again, defeating death and all that leads to death, giving all who believe the power to live well, endure suffering on earth, and to tell your story. Thank you for showing me that losing to gain was the best choice to make for my life. Thank you for loving me the way you do. Thank you for teaching me and transforming me daily as I follow. I believe. I will follow you.
In Jesus Name, Amen