When I was very young, my father worked seasonally as a logger in rural Alaska. He would leave for three months’ time, visiting once or twice before returning in the fall. Dad went to provide a better life for us: the work was steady and the pay was higher. Every time Dad left, I wished he had stayed. Who would push me on the swing set or feed me bites of breakfast cereal on his lap? Life was not the same without him.
Jesus starts teaching about the coming change and his impending death. Suffering and death? That’s not part of the plan. Identifying with Peter’s rebuke and fear, it’s easy to imagine he would rather be at Jesus’ side. How could life be the same without Jesus? For those of us who consider comfort and Christianity congruent, Jesus’ words are jarring: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me,” (v. 34).
Lord God, may we trust you enough to lose it all in order that we might find you. Amen.