“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to You.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ’Get behind Me, Satan! You are a hindrance to Me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’ Then Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.’” (Matthew 16:21-24 ESV)
How embarrassing for Peter! He thought he knew better than Jesus. But he was wrong. His eyes were on glory—but Jesus’ eyes were on the cross.
In our world, nothing lasts forever—nothing comes to glory—unless it dies first. As Jesus said in John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (ESV) Jesus intended to bring back the whole human race to God the Father as His forgiven and dearly loved children. To make that happen, Jesus would be the seed that died and was buried; we would become His fruit.
As followers of Jesus, we share in His sufferings. We struggle with temptation. The Holy Spirit teaches us to put God’s kingdom first. And we lean on Jesus for strength and comfort—because He is our Savior, and He will never let us down.
Prayer: Keep my heart set on You, Lord Jesus. Amen.
* What other examples do you know where suffering results in blessing?
* Why does Jesus talk about our lives as taking up the cross and following Him?
* When did Jesus help you through suffering?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on March 8, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights