The Mission of Jesus
By Rev. Dr. Sergio Arevalo
August 31, 2014 (12th Sunday after Pentecost)
For example, Fernando Poe was always alive at the end of the movies. He should not die because his fans do not like him to die in his movies. If he would die in the first part, there must be twin brother who will continue his image. No more suspense.
In the movies of Ramon Revilla, he was always dead. The ending that he was alive was not acceptable since he was portraying dead people, usually criminals. No more suspense.
In the same manner, Jesus foretold his own story to his followers. He already told the gist of the story. It had no more suspense in his story since he already told the gist, and the ending.
I. Jesus Foretells the Completion of His Mission
In our passage, Jesus began to show his disciples that he would have to go to Jerusalem, and suffer a great deal because of the Jewish leaders. Then he would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised (Mt. 16:21).
In this passage, it seems that we are like watching a movie trailer, Jesus was highlighting the actions in his missions. For some people, they already know what would be the ending of that movie. In the narration of Jesus, he would be murdered, but he would be raised from the dead.
Jesus foretold the completion of his mission. It was not just completion, but it was victorious completion! Is that wonderful? We who are pursuing Jesus’ mission have hope that the Lord will bring victorious completion of his mission here on earth.
II. Jesus Rebukes Peter for Wrong Conception of His Mission
Peter did not like the ending of Jesus’ story. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God be merciful to you, Lord! This must never happen to you” (Mt. 16:22).
Sometimes, Jesus’ followers wanted to look good with the sight of the Lord, but Jesus rebuked him for his wrong conception. Jesus knew the victorious completion of his mission, but it was not an easy thing. He would suffer, die and rise again after three days, and it happened.
III. Jesus Teaches His Disciples on How to Join His Mission
Mat 16:24-26 says, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continually. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, because what profit will a person have if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life?”
The key word in these verses is self-denial. Giving oneself for Jesus’ mission. Giving oneself is not an easy task. It is sacrifice. In our passage, Jesus says pick up our crosses while following him continually. This may mean forgetting ourselves, forgetting our egos, and forgetting our families, indeed, forgetting everything for the sake of Jesus. We can only join with His mission if we deny ourselves.
Here’s a good story of self-denial. Pastor Charles Spurgeon and his wife would sell, but refused to give away, the eggs their chickens laid. Even close relatives were told, “You may have them if you pay for them.” As a result some people labeled the Spurgeons greedy and grasping.
They accepted the criticisms without defending themselves, and only after Mrs. Spurgeon died was the full story revealed.
All the profits from the sale of eggs went to support two elderly widows. Because the Spurgeons where unwilling to let their left hand know what the right hand was doing (Matthew 6:3), they endured the attacks in silence (sermonillustrations.com).
The Spurgeons forgot their ego, their image among his people and community, just for the sake of helping the poor widows as a clear example of following Jesus.
The good thing of following Jesus is this reward for his followers, Mat 16:27-28 says, “The Son of Man is going to come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to what he has done. I tell you with certainty, some people standing here will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” The glory of Jesus would be shared to us who are following Jesus, and doing his missions.
At one point early in Julius Caesar’s political career, feelings ran so high against him that he thought it best to leave Rome.
He sailed for the Aegean Island of Rhodes, but en route the ship was attacked by pirates and Caesar was captured.
Caesar spent almost 40 days with his captors, jokingly telling the pirates on several occasions that he would someday capture and crucify them.
The kidnappers were greatly amused, but when the ransom was paid and Caesar was freed, the first thing he did was gather a fleet and pursue the pirates. They were captured and crucified!
Such was the Romans’ attitude toward crucifixion. It was to be reserved for the worst of criminals, a means of showing extreme contempt for the condemned. The suffering and humiliation of a Roman crucifixion were unequaled.
Jesus died on the hands of the Romans, on the cross. Jesus experienced suffering and humiliation just to save us from our sins so that his mission could be completed.