On Easter Sunday, we had a great kid moment. A family sat in the front row with their young daughters. One of the girls is named Faith. When Sam got up to host, he said, “Today we are talking about faith.” This little girl thought, Easter was about her! I love those moments.
Let’s jump right into our story today. This is an interaction between Jesus and His disciples. It’s an important interaction because the disciples are caught up in seeing life through a human point of view and Jesus introduces them to God’s point of view.
21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that he had to go to Jerusalem, and he told them what would happen to him there. He would suffer at the hands of the leaders and the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and he would be raised on the third day.
Jesus walked with His disciples for three years. It took some time for the disciples to experience and begin to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. They left their family businesses to follow after someone who simply said, “Follow Me.” To then believe that the person in front of them is the One, the Messiah, the King who their nation has been waiting for over thousands of years, that’s a big deal. Near the end of His time with them, because they believed, Jesus was more and more clear about who He was and His mission.
One of Jesus’ disciples become very close with Jesus. It was clear that Peter loved Jesus. Peter believed that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, the One. So when Peter hears Jesus say that he will suffer and die and come back to life. It’s too much for him to understand. What does Peter do? I think he says what any good friend would say.
22 But Peter took him aside and corrected him. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
Peter can’t understand what is happening. He loves Jesus and he pulls Jesus aside to say, “No way Jesus!” “Don’t walk into danger, be safe.” “Don’t risk your life, do the easy thing, back away.” “Jesus, this doesn’t make sense.”
Let’s read how Jesus responds.
23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s.”
Jesus tells Peter, you are so out of step with me that you are actually acting like my enemy; Satan. Here is why. You are looking at life through a human perspective, not God’s perspective. Jesus is telling Peter, “There is more going on here than you realize.”
Then Jesus uses this moment to pull His disciples around Him to teach them about what it means to see life through God’s perspective. And, what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
24 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.
That’s what it means to be a disciple of Jesus or a Christ follower. You put aside your selfish agenda to follow Jesus’ agenda. This is a radical moment of change. You look at every area of your life and you say, “I want follow Christ, so I will put aside my selfishness and do what He asks me to do.” That is the core of being a follower.
As simple as this is, many people hate this. We want to hear about Jesus, have knowledge about God but to actually change our beliefs to match Jesus’ teachings… we aren’t really into that. This is why many people in church struggle. They aren’t actually following Christ. They hear about Jesus. They have knowledge about God but they don’t change their hearts or behaviors to match Jesus’ teachings.
Are you in school? Do you put aside your selfish behavior to follow after Christ? Or do you find that you hear about Jesus in church but you do what you want in school? For example: How do you date? Is it a selfish conquest thing where you go from girl to girl or boy to boy? Is it a God thing where you prayed about it and want to get to know another person to bring out the best in them?
Are you married? Are you selfish in your marriage? You know what the Bible teaches but you aren’t going to live it out today. You aren’t a Christ follower. You are a Christ listener. You like to listen but you struggle to follow. Do you put aside your selfish agenda and say, I am here to honor you and love you?
How do you live every day? Do you live in a way where you are lazy and expect others to do things for you? Do you recognize your selfish agenda, put it aside and ask, God what do you want me to do today? …and I will do it.
Think about all the issues in our culture. Money. Success. Marriage. Dating. Sex. Comfort. Revenge. Forgiveness. Love. Work ethic. Are you a Christ follower?
25 If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.
In other words, if you always make decisions to be selfish and not follow after Me, you lose your life, your life in heaven. Then He shares,
But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.
If you follow after Me, if you look at all the areas of your life and work at putting aside your selfish agenda for my agenda of love, then you will find true life.
Then Jesus askes the question I want us to wrestle with today.
26 And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?
He wants His disciples to think through what He just said. How does it benefit you, if you fulfill every selfish desire on this earth, but then lose your heaven life?
27 For I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds. 28 And I assure you that some of you standing here right now will not die before you see me, the Son of Man, coming in my Kingdom.” NLT
Peter saw life from a human perspective. Seeing life through that grid lead Peter to be out of step with Jesus, so much so, Peter was acting like Jesus’ enemy Satan. Please see this. The human perspective is the enemy of God’s perspective. It’s a barrier. It’s a problem. It prevents us from living the way we should.
The human perspective believes that our time on earth is the most important time.
We live for today: success, comfort, revenge.
We pursue bigger, better, more: stuff, fame, validation.
We feel worried today, fearful of tomorrow and angry that we can’t control it.
Following God; it’s kinda of an interruption to what we want. So God stuff, if were honest, rubs us the wrong way. If we view life through the human point of view and we are living for today, imagine God saying, “See life through God’s point of view now.” That’s hard. It disrupts our life. Following God, changing our human point of view for God’s point of view can be a challenge.
Think about the subjects I listed earlier. Money. Success. Marriage. Dating. Sex. Comfort. Revenge. Forgiveness. Love. How we build our businesses.
When we see life from a human perspective, today is most important time, we are out of step with Christ. When we are out of step with Christ, we don’t follow, instead we think what Peter thought, ‘I won’t risk my selfishness, I will do the easy thing, I will back away from any challenge.’
Jesus was telling His disciples about God’s perspective. What is most important is heaven. What we do today prepares us for our time in heaven. Whatever I can accomplish on earth, get rewarded for on this earth, build on this earth, is complete nonsense comparted to eternity. That’s why Jesus was willing to suffer and die. That’s why Jesus never pursued success, comfort or validation from others. Jesus understood the God perspective and what was at risk.
It’s like Jesus turned to Peter and said, “God’s perspective is about how He can save the world. Peter, I am willing to suffer and die on earth because God asked me to because in the view of eternity, I am willing to give my life away.”
I want to ask you today: How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Leaving here today, I challenge you to think through the words of Jesus. Do you look into every area of your life and think, “I will put aside my selfish agenda for God’s agenda of love. I do this because I want to be a Christ follower.”