Summary: Why did Jesus have to suffer after all He was the Messiah and Peter just couldn't understand why Jesus spoke about His forthcoming death as He did.
WHY A SUFFERING MESSIAH?
A lady went to buy a rosary without a cross attached. "It's for my friend," she explained. She doesn't like the cross, she thinks it's cruel."
There are many today who would like to take the cross out of Christianity.
In today's Gospel, Peter felt the same. He had just made his great confession that Jesus was the Messiah.
Then Jesus began to teach them what kind of Messiah He was going to be. He started telling them about the cross.
The disciples were horrified. At once Peter pulled Jesus aside and would not hear of it.
Yes, he wanted a Messiah, a redeemer, but not one who would suffer and be put to death.
Jesus then gathered all His disciples around Him and said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.'
In other words, Jesus is saying that if the thought of my cross horrifies you, let me tell you that you have your own cross to bear if you want to be my disciples.
The cross stands at the very centre of the Christian faith. Without it Jesus would not have been the Messiah and without it we could not be His followers.
Jesus had to suffer to take away the sins of the world.
Sin is a very real fact of life. Why do governments spend millions of pounds on a police force, law courts and prisons? The answer is sin.
Why have nations made themselves bankrupt, making arms that are designed for no other purpose than to kill people? The answer is sin.
It is the deepest problem of the human race. Wherever people are to be found, you will find sin.
Sin is bad enough in what it does to the guilty, but it is at its worst in what it does to the innocent.
It took the most beautiful life this world has ever known and nailed it to a cross.
We must NOT make the mistake of being smug and separating ourselves from those who crucified Jesus.
They were people just like us. They may have actually nailed Jesus to the cross, but it was our sins of pride, greed, hatred, cowardice, jealousy, dishonesty and selfishness which were responsible for His death.
It was necessary for Jesus to save us from our sins as we were so helpless and trapped by sin that we were quite unable to free ourselves.
God our loving Father took pity on us and sent His Son into the world to share our human nature, being like us in everything except sin.
Because Jesus was both human and divine He was the only one who could make reparation to His Father on our behalf and restore us back to God.
Through His sacrifice on Calvary Jesus stored up a treasure of grace and strength. All we have to do is to tap into it.
We have only ourselves to blame if we don't draw on this source of strength.
But being a Christian means much more than just going to Church and worshipping in beautiful, comfortable building and enjoying peaceful music.
Christianity also means carrying a cross. There can be no genuine faith without it.
Jesus insists that anyone who wants to follow Him must share His sacrifice by taking up their own cross.
Whatever we suffer in our lives, be it ill health or difficult relationships or the hardships that the circumstances that life bring to us, whatever they may be, it is the way we bear our burdens, bear our cross.
There is a tradition that Peter went to Rome to escape persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem.
Then during the time that Nero was emperor of Rome, persecution of Christians began there and tradition says that Peter tried to escape again.
He only came back when he had a vision of Jesus carrying His cross, Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” and Jesus responded saying, “To Rome to be crucified again.”
Peter returned to Rome where he was crucified, upside down by his own choice because, he didn’t deserve to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus.
Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, we do them because we know they are the right, the right things to do, because we believe that is God’s will for us.
But remember what Jesus said, ‘My burden is light, my yoke is easy’
This seems a contradiction in terms but we must remember a yoke for ploughing the fields is carried by TWO oxen – the burden is carried by BOTH of them.
So let Jesus help you to carry your cross.