Summary: Jesus says plainly that He will be rejected, and so will his followers as they carry out the mission of spreading the Gospel.
The Plain Truth About Following Jesus
RCL Year B 2nd Sunday in Lent
Following Jesus seems simple enough. Read your Bible. Support your church. Be a law-abiding citizen. Raise a family. Don’t sin. Simple enough. Or, is it?
At a moment when Jesus’ experienced popularity, He drops a bomb on his followers. His mission on earth is not political in nature. He will give up that popularity to undergo persecution, condemnation, and death. He says plainly that He will be rejected, and so will his followers as they carry out the mission of spreading the Gospel.
Jesus Taught Them: This Mission Involves Suffering
A. The Son of Man would 1) Undergo great suffering; 2) Experience rejection by the religious leaders and the leaders of his community; 3) Be put to death; 4) Rise again in three days.
B. Jesus was on a mission that would lead to the redemption of many. But, for him to be successful, he was going to suffer.
II. Jesus Rebuked Worldly Thinking: This Mission is Not of This World
A. Peter “took him by the arm and began to rebuke him.” Note that Peter only began to rebuke Jesus. He didn’t finish. Worldly thinking says, “I will do what is right, and I demand to be treated with respect because of it.” The truth is, the world has no interest in truth. The world is interested in building earthly political institutions, economic institutions, and social organizations. “We shall overcome what comes against us!” is the declaration of those of the world.
B. Jesus finished the rebuking. He called Peter’s attitude “of Satan”. He declared it to be “thinking as men think and not as God thinks.” God has no interest in worldly organizations and institutions. He cares about you.
III. Jesus Calls People to Follow Him: This Mission is About Living in the Next Life
A. What does it mean to follow Him? Jesus set for the criteria: 1) Deny self-interest; 2) Take up your own cross; 3) Follow Him. Simply put, His followers will not be seeking worldly praise and reward. They will seek to call people away from worldly living.
B. Jesus gives a warning. “Whoever cares for his own safety is lost.” Isn’t that what derails the faith of many Christians? They worry about their own safety. But, Jesus promises, “Whoever is lost for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel will be safe.” You may not be famous, but Jesus knows your name. Your eternity is safe.
Conclusion: Following Jesus is a matter of choosing the next life over the current one. In your thinking, remember that this life is only temporary. The next one is eternal.