Matthew 16:21-28 (Proper 17, Year A)

Become My Disciple, KPB Stevens, gouache on paper, 2020

Matthew 16:21-28

After he told the disciples that he was the Promised One, Jesus began, through his words & actions, his encounters with others, his way of walking & the slope of his shoulders, to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem. Go, even though, in Jerusalem, he would suffer at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, the scholars and students of the law. Go, even though he would be killed. He told them that he would, on the third day, be raised from death.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “This must never happen to you,” he said.

They stood, apart from the others, and Jesus looked at the sky & the fields, the beaten dirt of the road as it disappeared towards the horizon. “Satan tempted me in the wilderness,” he said. “I thought that was behind me. But now you are trying to make me stumble. You only understand what your culture believes to be good. You don’t understand the divine vision.”

Then Jesus called out to the other disciples, who had paused in the road so that his conversation with Peter could be private. “Choose whether to follow me,” he said. “If you do, you must deny your small selves, confront the things that terrify you, and accept the possibility of your own suffering, as I accept mine. If you try to preserve the life you’re living now, you will lose it. If you give it up graciously, and follow me, life will become greater and sweeter than ever before. If you try to control the world and what happens to you, you will lose yourself in the effort. If you give up control, and live in harmony with all of life, you will find yourself, expand yourself, & see the divine in yourself and in everything else.

“The Child of Humanity will come in the company of divine messengers, in the glory of the Intimate and Expansive One, and will give reparations to all who have suffered. Truly I tell you, some of you standing here on the road with me will experience this before you die.

Leave a Reply