Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Matthew 16:21-24 -- On Denying Ourselves rather than Reality

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
Matthew 16:21-24

This is an interesting passage.  Jesus is telling his disciples that he has to die, as part of God's plan, and his friends, understandably, don't want it to happen, and want him to stop talking that way.  Imagine if one of our friends were talking about having to die.  We'd be worried too.  But I guess maybe that is part of the point.  They didn't yet get that he wasn't just talking or depressed, or "normal person" things... that he was preparing them and prophesying to them about what was going to happen.  Christ tells Peter, basically, "stop tempting me."   We know that Christ didn't particularly want to die since he asked the Father to let the cup pass from him.  So, I imagine that having his friend upset about him impending death was a hard thing, but it was still something that he had to do.

There are a lot of things like that in our lives too.  I don't mean death predictions, but things that we don't necessarily want to do, but that we do anyway because we know that it is important.  Like Christ, we want to do them for God more than we want to escape them for ourselves.  That is a super hard thing to learn, because we aren't often very good at patience and faith and self-control and selflessness.  Today, though, let's try to be good at those things.  Let's work on facing the things that we need to face, on reconciling ourselves to the will of God (2 Nephi 10:24) rather than just doing our own thing.  Let's follow God, denying ourselves bad things, and facing the things that we need to face. Let's also work on being better friends... on facing the truth, kindly, rather than tempting others to deny reality / go against God's will, even when it is difficult.

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