Jesus spent three years in the public eye doing ministry and early on He called men to follow after Him as disciples. He cared about these men, but He certainly didn’t sugar coat things. When Peter speaks out, Jesus corrects him.
Matthew 16:20,(ESV) Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Mat 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
Mat 16:22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”
Mat 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Mat 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
I remember many years ago when my husband worked for a company, we attended a conference. We met up with someone who used to work for the company, but now they hired out to help someone with the same business many states away. When they finished helping the owner of the business he was going to give them their own business as a thank you for getting his enterprise on the right track.
I felt as if the Holy Spirit spoke to my inner most being: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”
I got very quiet. I didn’t pray, I thought about it. Then I prayed, “Lord, am I supposed to tell them that or is that for me?”
I didn’t get a leading either way. So, I let it go. After that I prayed for them. I still pray for them, because I have no idea what their relationship with God is. I pray when they come to mind. It’s not often, but I trust God to remind me if they need a current prayer and I count on Him answering prayers that I’ve forgotten about.
I’ve seen Him do that in my life. The town I live in has some nice features that I heard about in the 1990’s. I prayed that if we should ever move, I’d like to live here. I totally forgot about it. Then ten years or more later, we got the opportunity to pastor a church here. I only remembered my prayer a few years ago. God amazes me.
Sometimes I wonder if I pray something because He wants that for me, or if I pray and then He graciously answers. I’ve had so many wonderful blessings from God over all these years. I’ve found He’s incredibly trustworthy, even if I don’t see it at first. In other words, I don’t always get my way. I praise God for that. I’ve thanked Him for not answering certain prayers with a yes when at the time I was sure I wanted that yes. Then something would come to my attention and I’d understand that a yes would have been painful.
He’s a perfect Father.
I’ve been asking God for wisdom because Proverbs three talks about all the benefits of wisdom. Solomon wrote much of Proverbs and he was supposed to have been the wisest man ever. As God answers that prayer, which He tells us in James 1:5, (ESV): “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him,” I know that He wants to answer it because it tells me to ask in the Word.
The next verse does remind the readers to ask in faith and without doubt.
I’ve been thinking if God supplies me with His wisdom, then I’ll know whether the Scripture about being careful not to lose my soul because of gaining the world is for me alone or for me to share with my friends.
Jesus spoke the truth in love. Even when He spoke forcefully to the Pharisees about not being hypocrites, He was livid that they were taking their positions of authority and hurting people that lived under their rules. Some of them became His followers.
God is love!