Devotional: The Road to the Cross-Part One

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16:16)

I figured it out. My husband and kids don’t like it when I spring things on them at the last minute. My husband wants to know what’s going on so he can plan his weekend. My youngest son constantly asks, “What do we have this week?” My oldest expects me to let him know so he’s not finding out at the last minute.

I didn't want to crop this picture because you would lose some of the beauty of it.

I didn’t want to crop this picture because you would lose some of the beauty of it.

My youngest is the worst about last minute stuff. I’d signed him up for church camp in August. As soon as he found out, he started telling me he didn’t want to go. His only reason is because they’re going to a different camp from last summer. Plus, it seemed like we were going to different camps back to back. But I already know it’s not going to be like last summer, so of course, I’ve been telling him, “You are.”

I understand their reasons. When you make plans, it’s frustrating when someone comes along and changes them. I try my best to write everything down on the family calendar; soccer games, track meets, band practices, camping trips, summer camps, etc. I don’t worry about those things that are set in stone; church Sunday morning, choir practice, and Boy Scout weekly meetings but if something changes with those I try to “warn” my family. That way they’re prepared.

In Jesus’ ministry, there came a point when the disciples understood and believed that He was God’s Son. Yet, they still had the mindset that the Messiah would come to conquer and put a stop to the Israelites oppression. Jesus had to prepare them for what really was going to happen.

When Peter made his declaration, Jesus began to tell them what was going to happen. He predicted His death on three separate occasions. The first time He did, Peter tried to argue just like my son. Peter didn’t want to believe that Jesus would suffer and die. He wanted to believe He would conquer the Roman Empire and become an Earthly king.

At His second prediction, the Bible says the disciples were deeply distressed. Why wouldn’t they be? How many times had they seen Jesus talk to strangers, but knew intimate things about them? Things Jesus shouldn’t have known? They didn’t want to accept what Jesus was telling them. Maybe they didn’t know how.

At His third prediction, Jesus gave specific details. He said this about Himself, “They will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified.” Something to look forward to, right? The Bible doesn’t say anything about the disciples’ feelings then, but we know they still didn’t understand by their reactions after Jesus’ resurrection.

The problem was their inability to see the big picture. They couldn’t get past the beating and dying part despite Jesus telling them He would be back in three days. It wasn’t until after He came back from the dead that His disciples understood.

So, yes I’m making my son go to summer camp. Some parents would think that’s terrible but I’ve been where my son is now. I can see the big picture. Youth summer camps are the one place they can go to get away from the influence of the world and focus on their relationship with God. It can be a place where they learn to stand for God and become who He wants them to be.

But I have to keep this in mind for myself as well. The little things God wants me to do now will prepare me for the bigger things latter. I might not be able to see the big picture, but I am choosing to trust God because He does see it.

Lord, I thank you for the plan you have for me even though I can’t always see the big picture. Help me to listen and choose to follow Your directions and to learn the things you want me to learn.

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