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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Today’s Reading | Mark 8:27–9:1

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”   He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” (NRSV)


Reflection

I want to know where I am and where I am going. It makes me feel safe and protected. So why does Jesus want me to lose myself? That seems to be the complete opposite of what I want. Why would he say that to be lost is to be saved?

I think part of what Jesus is hinting at is that my natural inclination is stay in the places and patterns where I am comfortable—knowing where I am and where I am going. It is thinking of my wants and needs first. It is returning to the patterns of being bitter at someone when they hurt me or the natural tendency to quit when things get hard. But Jesus wants me to move away from my comfortable patterns. He wants me to lose myself, to literally let go of the need to remain in my safe and secure old patterns and rather walk in a new direction: loving others in the same way I love myself; to not open my mouth and cut down someone who has hurt me but to instead work toward forgiveness; persisting rather than quitting. The problem is, in order to live this way I have to be willing to walk toward a place that is unknown in my heart, and I have to be willing to stay there even though at times it really hurts.

Thankfully, we have not only an example of this way of living, Jesus, but we also have a Helper. Before Jesus left his followers he said he would send a Helper that would continue to show them the way to go. And thankfully today, right now, in this moment, the Helper is here with us and will continue to show us the new way of following Jesus.


Prayer

Holy Spirit, thank you for being near. Please help me today to walk in the ways of Jesus. Take me away from my old paths and direct me toward the path of love. Amen.


Written by Daniel Holladay, Administrative Assistant for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry and the Day School


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