Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)
Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Various groups mocked Jesus for various reasons. Members of the Sanhedrin insulted and hit Jesus to save face with Annas. Herod’s guards did many violent things to Jesus because, well, for the lack of a better term, they were dweebs. And, Pilate’s guards stripped and flogged Jesus out of civic duty because it was Pilate’s hope to punish Jesus in a way that would avoid crucifixion.
Jesus is also mocked when we do not practice an authentic faith: when we maintain an outward appearance of Christianity but do not allow the Holy Spirit to transform us internally. Certainly, we should avoid sin, but a man can cut off both his hands and gouge out both his eyes and still leave the root of sin untouched in his life. Christ summons us to look beyond the outward and literal and surrender everything, however pleasant or dear or necessary or insignificant. And if there is suffering in the surrendering we must endure it.
Question to Consider
Asking a person if she is humble is a trick question because if she says she isn’t, she isn’t, and if she says she is, she isn’t. Is asking a person if she has surrendered all to Christ a trick question in a similar way? Have I actually dealt with sin in my life or have I merely appeared to?
Dear Jesus, help me to identify with your Passion by suffering to surrender all things to your sovereignty. I rest in your promise that those who have given up the most will be given the most in your eternal economy; the poor will be made rich; the last will be made first. Renew in me a passion to honor you in all things, and help me to never be ashamed or to make a mockery of your great love for me.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)
The 40 days of decrease blogs have been inspired by the book “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole.