I recently shared a motel room with a few Mosquitos and a number of other insects. I covered myself in aeroguard to try and keep them away… Which had a temporary effect, but they kept coming back to bug me (if you’ll excuse the pun). It wasn’t until I noticed the tin of mortein sitting in the corner of the room that i knew things could change. It was always there, it always had the power to solve my dilemma, but it was no good sitting in the can. But it would be also no good if I sprayed it on myself. Instead, I needed to heed its instructions and spray it on the insects and around the area to allow its power to bring change.
In the incredible reading we have this morning, Peter acknowledges that Jesus is the Messiah. It’s not a new idea for Jesus. He always had been the messiah. But now Peter had noticed and recognised him. He no longer needed to sit in Peters proverbial corner.
To not act on what he now saw and knew would be disastrous… Unimaginable. (Seriously, I can’t imagine not using the mortein once I spotted it!) To act in the wrong way (even if well meaning) would be equally disastrous.
That’s why Jesus quickly tells Peter and the others:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26)
Seeing Jesus is similar to seeing the mortein (obviously way more significant but roll with me). If I see it and do nothing, I’m a fool. But more so, if I see it and then act on it in a way other than intended, the result could be equally disastrous. Mortein is to be sprayed around, not put on ones body like aeroguard. Disciples of the Messiah are called to “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” not to claim salvation while living in indulgence and self fulfilment like the rest oft he world.
I’m finding these verses more and more challenging. I wonder if I’m using the mortein like aeroguard. I think I’m good at equating denying self to nearly the equivalent to junk food denial on a diet. Carrying a cross daily, well who would want to intentionally live in such discomfort or disgrace really? Following Jesus… As long as he takes me where I want to go. Have we made discipleship much more comfortable than what Jesus asked us to!
I wonder if we pause for a moment this morning and ask Jesus afresh how he would like us to fulfil his call of discipleship today. Just today. What blessing might come into the world if we each see the messiah and respond the way he calls us to rather than the way we want to?
I’d love to hear how you are going in this quest!