April 7, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Son of Man Must Suffer”

Mark 8:31-33

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.”

Did you know that Jesus is included in the Quran? In the Islam faith, Jesus is known as one of the 25 prophets of Allah. It may intrigue you to know that even the Quran describes Jesus as a virgin-conceived, benevolent, miracle-working, sinless servant of God. But there’s an interesting and critical omission regarding the life of Jesus in the Quran. See, in the Quran, Jesus is never crucified. He never suffers at the hands of the Romans, He never gets spit upon, or whipped, and He is never put to death on a cross. Why not? Well, simply put, from a Muslim point of view, Allah would never allow an innocent, sinless man to suffer in this way. Especially since He was a great man, He would never be assigned to such a fate because He did not deserve it.

Perhaps in this train of thought, Peter had come to a similar conclusion. In our passage, when Jesus began foretelling His suffering and death, Peter took offense and began to rebuke Jesus. In his mind, he could not fathom the possibility of the Messiah going through such turmoil and defeat. What kind of God would allow such suffering to happen to the Chosen One, the One He loved? But Jesus replies with what may be one of the strongest rebukes of all time: “Get behind me, Satan!” Why does Jesus respond so aggressively to Peter’s misconception? Because if you miss the death and resurrection of Jesus, you’ve missed a crucial aspect of who our God is. He is not only a benevolent, miracle-working, sinless, teacher… He also laid down, His life as a ransom for many! Without the death and resurrection of Christ, there is no hope for us, and there is no gospel.

Most people in this world acknowledge that Jesus was a good person, that His teachings hold moral value, and that He was in general, a benevolent teacher. Some may even credit Him with performing signs and wonders. But what sets Christians distinctly apart is none of the above. Then what sets a Christian apart? It is our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. In other words, everything about our faith hinges on this one truth: that our God came and died to redeem us and rose again that we might also walk in newness of life.

It’s been six days since Easter. Let us remind ourselves again of what Jesus has done for us by going to the cross and rising up again. He gave up His own rights in order to give us the right to become sons and daughters of God. Praise be to God, whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours!

Prayer: God, thank You for who You are. Thank You that You gave yourself up on the cross. Thank You for rising again. Help us to walk in newness of life, as those who have been redeemed by You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joel 1-2

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