And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Mark 8:34
Sooner or later everyone will need to reckon with who Jesus really is. Christians are the only ones who know enough to fathom his reach. Those outside the fold see him as a prophet or facsimile of some great teacher.
Peter, like us, knew he was the Christ, the Messiah. But, like us, he was far too casual with the Lord of the Universe. He brashly pulled Jesus aside to counsel him on saying too much. As he saw it, Jesus wasn’t helping his cause by speaking so frankly. He was hoping the Lord would just stick with parables or something less direct. All this plain talk about suffering, rejection, and death was far too disturbing.
But for Jesus, it was time to get down to brass tacks, to thin the ranks, so he turned to the crowd to issue discipleship requirements, after outing Satan’s devious attempt to thwart his message through Peter.
Some takeaways. Let’s be careful not to be used as Satan’s mouthpiece. Obviously, it’s pretty easy to do so. Knowing God’s word is essential to staying on message.
Second, discipleship is exacting and costly. It takes discipline and sacrifice. It’s not a stroll in the park.