FACING DEATH

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the series Have Faith

It was not lost on Jesus, not all friendships were the same, some are built on commitments, others are built on the support we can receive from each other. But as we look at Jesus and the type of relationship he has with us, we can say some relationships are built on what we can give to others. And in the case of Jesus and his disciples, this was the relationship he was having with them.

Jesus had something he was willing and wanted to give to all his disciples, but the relationship we as disciples were having with Jesus was the one where we are benefiting without placing our complete trust in Jesus Christ. And because it is the type of relationship we are having with Jesus, he made the statement, “If you are my friend you will do what I say.”

Peter, however, told Jesus he knew he was the son of the living God, but would later deny Jesus three times. This was Peter’s reaction when he came face to face with death on behalf of Jesus because as a friend of Jesus, he was not committed to the relationship. And because of his preconceived thoughts of who the Messiah should be Peter denied Jesus.

Jesus challenged his disciples saying, ‘If anyone will follow me, let him first deny himself, take up his cross and then follow me.” Jesus made this statement because Peter’s heart was not with Jesus. He had the knowledge Jesus was God, but hearing Jesus spoke of himself as being put to death by the Romans, caused Peter to reveal his true intentions for being with Jesus Christ.

But before Peter revealed why he was with Jesus, Jesus said something to Peter concerning his revelation of who he, Jesus was. Jesus said, “Upon this rock, I will build my Church and the gates of hell with not prevail against it.”

However, saying that, Jesus knew for us to stand down the gates of hell, and for us to stand in the authority of the Son of God, we need to get to know Jesus. And to know Jesus will require each of his disciples to develop a personal relationship with him, a relationship that will allow us to place our complete trust and faith in God.

And developing a personal relationship with God will allow us to move away from the shallowness of what we called faith, the teachings of the Pharisees. Because moving away from this kind of faith, the one built on the traditions of men. It will allow us to endure and stand in the face of challenges. For there is no doubt, our relationship with Jesus will be challenged, and if we are not close friends with Jesus, we’ll stumble at the experience of persecution.

This was the case when Jesus revealed what it will take for his disciples to be his friend, and for them to have eternal life. And upon hearing the words of Jesus, many were offended turning away from Jesus because they had not developed the type of relationship that would have caused them to remain faithful when they come under persecution.

We say we believe in Christ, but what do we mean, we say we have faith in God, but what do we understand faith to be? It has been a problem for many generations, even in the days of old, to the point, Jesus said through his prophets, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” And standing among his disciples, the experience and lack of knowledge found among the disciples of Jesus made them vulnerable.
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