The Suffering Messiah

Dec 03, 2017 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: Messiah in Matthew Scripture: Matthew 16:20-28
Jesus took this first revelation of His own suffering as an opportunity to teach the disciples about living a life of self-denial and even death to self; in verse 24 He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” For a disciple, to follow his teacher meant that he would live and die as his Rabbi did. So as Jesus did not live for himself, the call to discipleship involves repudiating every link that ties us to ourselves–in the words of one commentator, “obliterating self as the dominant principle of life in order to make God that principle.” To “take up one’s cross” unquestionably pointed to the humiliating practice of a condemned criminal carrying the very instrument of his own execution, through the streets, bearing the shame of onlookers, ultimately to his death. Ironically Jesus tells us that this is the only way to find true life. If our own physical well-being is the dominant principle of life, we will end up losing our lives. Practically speaking, this means that self-interest ends up killing us, while living for God and others results in real life.