Friday, April 25, 2008

Matthew 16:24-27


24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ``If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 ``For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 ``For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 ``For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

It's all about Jesus! Remember what we say about being created to be dependent upon God, and if we aren't dependent upon Him, then we will surely become dependent upon something or someone else? This is where the 'rubber meets the road' in that at the core of being dependent upon God is "denying himself and take up his cross and follow Jesus."

There is a vacuum in the heart of every person that aches to be filled and satisfied. And, no matter what you try to stuff into that vacuum, it will never fill it or satisfy, UNTIL YOUR HEART IS FILLED AND SATISFIED BY JESUS. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? What part of this are you having trouble understanding?

Matthew 16:21-23


21 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 be raised up on the third day.22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ``God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.'' 23 But He turned and said to Peter, ``Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God 's interests, but man's.''

Immediately after giving the right answer-the confession about Jesus that when a follower expresses, it becomes the foundation for the church that Jesus is building, Peter is now in a most vulnerable position. Just as soon as he had been on top of the spiritual mountain, the devil shows up to use him to trip up Jesus' plan.

We have to assume that calling Peter, Satan, was not a slip of the tongue. Jesus recognized the plan of Satan being acted out by Peter. The plan? To do everything possible to stop Jesus from going to the cross to die and rise from the dead in victory over all things. Once Jesus announces His plan to suffer, be killed and rise up again,Peter takes control of the situation. Satan was actually using Peter's actions to thwart the work of God.

NOTE Jesus scolds Peter for setting his mind on man's interests rather than God's. Peter was doing things his way for God. And who is the driving force behind this? The devil himself. WHEN JESUS MAKES IT CLEAR THAT HE MUST DO CERTAIN THINGS IN A CERTAIN WAY, YOU MUST NOT ALTER HIS PLAN. And when you do, you're playing into the hands of the evil one and ignoring the best way of doing things--Jesus' way!