I know. Kind of an unusual header verse for a devo, right? But I had to share it with you because Holy Spirit has been stirring it in my heart for us. In this final interaction with Peter in the Book of John, Jesus foretells Peter’s death. This maybe seems not too cheery of a subject upon first glance. But as true believers in Jesus, we are called to not fear death. Jesus was bestowing on His close friend a sacred honor. Peter was going to glorify God through his dying.
What is on my heart as I meditate on this passage is not actually martyrdom in the physical sense. (Although I do believe that it behooves us to be mindful of our siblings in Jesus around the world who daily are giving their lives for Him). Rather, what stirs in me is this truth: being willing to die brings glory to God.
Every day, we are given opportunities to die to ourselves. In fact, Jesus said that we can’t really be His disciples unless we are willing to do so. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate… yes, his own life… he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, NKJV). As I was explaining to my kids recently, this obviously does not mean that Jesus literally wants us to hate our lives. What it does mean is that His call to discipleship is a call to supreme loyalty to His name. A loyalty so fierce that we are willing to lay down our lives for Him… every single day.
The way this plays out in practical terms directly affects all of our human interactions. Bearing our cross means being crucified with Jesus. It means allowing our annoyance at someone’s rude behavior to die with Him. It means allowing Holy Spirit to nail to the cross those choice words we felt like slinging at that inconsiderate individual. It means turning the other cheek. It means going the extra mile, gently serving the one who is treating me unjustly.
It means blessing the person that said that unkind word to me. It means letting my pride get thrust through, over and over and over again. It means choosing humility when it stings and squeezes tears out of my eyes. It means being willing to lose all the arguments about matters of preference. It means choosing deep-heart forgiveness and mercy a hundred million times.
Like Jesus. Like the beautiful Lamb who did not open His mouth to defend Himself. He showed us how to do it. He showed us how to remain silent in the face of fierce injustice. He showed us the greatest love that has ever existed, by taking up His cross.
We are called to love like Him. We are called to live like Him. And we are called to glorify God by dying like Him… every day of our lives.
Is it possible to be a true Christian without following Jesus in the way that He describes in these verses?
(Note: I want to mention with urgency that I do not espouse staying in an abusive relationship. If you are being abused verbally, physically, sexually, or in any other way, this is not what Jesus wants for you. I lovingly urge you to reach out for help and healing!)