Well, this is heavy.
So we start off with Peter acknowledging Christ, but being told not to tell anyone about this. Which, again, seems weird in comparison to today’s culture. There must be a reprieve at some point, a change in Jesus’ instruction, but I can’t recall when that is. I suppose I’ll find out in a few weeks.
And we are getting closer. I think is the first crucifixion reference in Mark; if not, it’s one of the first This was said plainly, but I don’t think it takes into account that nobody is really going to believe Jesus at this point. People were expecting the Messiah to defeat Rome, and they were expecting Jesus to live a long life given that He was so popular and evidently so powerful. These are reasonable assertions, all things considered, but God had bigger plans than that.
But then we get to the meat of the matter. We have to deny ourselves to follow Christ. And after last night, my initial thought is that I have to deny my wants and desires for Christ. I need to deny those desires to follow God. There doesn’t seem to be a loophole about whether they are good desires, though. I might want good things—marriage, children, fostering kids, a house with room for all of this, a supportive community around me, and to be a writer because I can be a writer and manage all of these things—but God doesn’t specify that.
I want to be good. That can’t be what is meant by denying yourself, is it? My internet isn’t working too well, so I can’t look up the root word for denying yourself, but I would think denying yourself should have to do more with self-control. Oh, now it’s working—let’s see. I guess it could be more with self-control. It does literally mean to deny, but here’s also a definition that means to affirm that you have no acquaintance, and then another to forget one’s self (including interests). That’s a harsh form of deny. That’s not merely self control.
Take up your own cross and all of that. Give up your wants, never mind if that’s what makes you you. Don’t your wishes and dreams inform who you become? I don’t know. But here’s proof, I suppose, that God doesn’t care about what I want. So I suppose all that matters, then, is whether I want Him, and the answer to that is yes. Oh.