When the disciple of Jesus brought the Public Relations Consultant to Jesus everyone gathered around to hear what changes needed to be made to the band of desert ragamuffins in order to make them MORE “palatable to others.” After listening to a lengthy speech about how to “brand” themselves they noticed Jesus had His back turned…..
“But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”- Mark 8:33-34
The way we “think” things “should be” and the way God has designed them are rarely in agreement! This is one reason why we see so much inequity and injustice in the world – because God Is in control.
Jesus did Not want to go to the cross – He wasn’t looking forward to the nails in His hands or the beatings or public humiliation. This is evidenced by His prayers shortly before His arrest in Gethsemane. To that extent for a disciple to “take up their cross and follow” Jesus means to release the way we think things “should be” with human logic and wisdom and sacrifice even our own physical lives for the cause of spreading Love from Above!
Remember this stern rebuke given to Peter by Jesus happened just after Peter had rebuked Jesus for talking about His death at the hands of the “teachers of the law” – Mark 8:31. Peter had the idea that Jesus, The Messiah, “should be” setting him and others physically free – Jesus and God had a better idea – Spiritual Freedom! Freedom from religion by a personal Relationship with God Almighty by removing once and for all, for All who believed the power of sin which is the law But that could Only be done through One final Perfect Sacrifice!
Jesus was “made perfect” Not by the law, as no one was made perfect by the law – He was made perfect by Faith through Love – Hebrews 11 and 12!
Jesus denied Himself by choosing to Love instead of escape. Jesus took up His cross, His purpose as designed by God and followed the road laid out for Him. By God’s Grace through Faith He put Love over things, the easy road and His preference – the lesson here is clear – CHOOSE LOVE and in so doing CHOOSE LIFE and by doing that you WALK WITH GOD!