prosperity

Jesus bringing his prosperity gospel here to win followers with promises to make us all happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise. Well, not exactly…

Jesus Being Tried

This, I believe, is the first time Jesus tells his disciples the truth that he is destined to be persecuted, opposed, rejected, and crucified.  And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.  I really like that last statement here, and he said this plainly.   Jesus, apparently, didn’t beat around the bush with his disciples about his expected outcome for his ministry.   He would suffer.  He would be rejected.  He would be killed.   BUT – after three days He would rise again.  All this he said plainly.

son of man must suffer

All this bluntness was more that his disciples could, or would, understand.  And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.   Seriously, do you blame Peter?  He’s dropped everything in his life, walked away from his fishing business, has a wife at home that he probably never sees.  He believes Jesus to be the Messiah, and had just proclaimed it to be so, even though Jesus told him to shut up about it.  “And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.” Mark 8:29-30 ESV.   Peter has just openly proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah, because he believes him to be the Messiah, the savior of Israel.   And being Messiah brings certain hopes and expectations.  And nowhere in that list of expectations will you find rejection and execution.  Victory and triumph, success and glory, the liberation of their people from Roman occupation is what Peter and the boys had in mind, not rejection, torture and crucifixion.

Get Thee Behind Me, Satan by James Tissot

But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”   Poor Peter.  One minute, he’s the one proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, to which Jesus proclaims “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 ESV.  The next minute it’s Get behind me, Satan! 

warrior messiah

Peter and the other disciples really believed Jesus was the chosen one to liberate Israel, and they were right in that.  But they just could not comprehend the means by which he would come to his glory.  They expect nothing short of glorious victory in battle, a battle in which they would readily give their lives for their people.  The only one who must not die is Jesus, because he is the Messiah, and a crucified Messiah is a failed Messiah.

resurrection

So when Jesus tells them, plainly, that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again, it hits his disciples like a bomb.  They simply don’t  understand.  He’s Messiah, he’s going to save Israel, he’s going to be crowned king, they know these things, they expect these things.  So when Peter pulls Jesus to the side to rebuke him, he really means well, he thinks he’s doing the right thing.  After all, how is Jesus going to get more followers on his mission to overthrow Rome if he’s running around talking about being crucified??

this will not happen to you

So, why don’t the disciple hear the rest of what Jesus says here, and after three days rise again?  Again, all this he plainly said.  Because, they hear this from Jesus and immediately, being Jews who do know their Torah, they think of what the prophet Hosea had said centuries before.  “”Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” Hosea 6:1-2 ESV.  What they think they hear from Jesus is a reference to Hosea declaring that After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up.  And what this had become, saying after two days on the third day, this had become idiomatic, a saying they had, referring generally to sometime soon.  Hosea 6:1-2 was understood by Jews to be referring to the general resurrection of righteous Jews at the end of the age (similar, I suppose, to our expectation of Christ’s return).   This is what they hear when Jesus speaks if being rejected and killed – they hear Jesus telling them he will go to Jerusalem, be rejected and not accepted, persecuted, executed, then at the general resurrection of the righteous, he would be a part of that.  To which his disciples, Peter included, would have been thinking, “That’s great and all, but a lot if good that’s going to do for us!!”   Thus is the same thing we see just before Jesus raises Lazarus.  “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”” John 11:23-24 ESV.  This is the resurrection Peter thinks Jesus is referring to.

I am the resurrection

But Jesus responds to Mary –  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”” John 11:25-27 ESV.  Jesus is the resurrection and the life, AMEN!!

Pick_up_your_Cross

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?    Peter, eventually, understood what Jesus was saying.  And take us his cross and follow he did.  Jesus tells his followers to take us their cross and follow, because Rome will crucify them, because that’s what Rome does.  Might as well save them the trouble of getting the trees themselves.  Peter followed right up to his own crucifixion, which he asked to be done upside down because he felt unworthy to die as his Lord had died.   All the apostles, except John, carried their crosses and followed you the point of their own execution.  Because that was, and is, the call – to be willing to follow Jesus to the point of being killed.

not ashamed

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.   Crucifixion was a shameful way to die.  Jesus knew his destiny would include a cross.  “Don’t be ashamed of me.”   Jesus took on the dragon of empire, Rome, in a great battle.  But he did not do battle in the way of the empire.  Instead of a sword, his weapon was a cross.  His own cross.  In crying forgiveness from his own cross he beat the devil, the accuser, once and for all.  As attested to by His father on the third day.

Christ_and_the_heavy_cross

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.    Maybe it will make you healthy, wealthy, and wise, what do I know?   But I do know For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.  Nero may have crucified Peter almost 2000 years ago.  But to this day, we name our sons Peter.  We might call our dogs Nero.

nero-sofrep-military-working-dog

“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.””

Mark 8:31-38 ESV

http://bible.com/59/mrk.8.31-38.esv

“And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.””

Mark 9:1 ESV

http://bible.com/59/mrk.9.1.esv

John Lewis

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2 thoughts on “The Prosperity of Christ

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