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Know God in a Year #129 The Paradox of Love

Calling the crowd who is waiting to hear him, Jesus now gives one of his hardest teachings. “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Crucifixion was the cruelest Roman death. The lowest criminals were required to carry their crosses to the site–a humiliation violently resisted.
But Jesus is willing to go through suffering. He doesn’t count heaven as a desirable place without us. Conquering death and Satan is the only way to give us back our choices and establish the safety of the universe.
He tries to explain, “Whoever saves his life for himself will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake (to love and become authentic) will find it. What will a man gain by winning the whole world’s approval if it costs his true self? You have nothing else.
“And I will come in the glory of my Father, with the holy angels… and some of you will not see death until you see my glory.” He finishes strong with what they do expect, but they can barely hear it.
“The cross” is stuck in their ears. There is to be no turning point? This life of loving and healing and poverty is all there is?–with death as the reward?
This is painful to all his followers, but especially the twelve. They love Jesus. Can it be true that he will not be crowned king–not sit on the throne of David? Death awaits him? On a cross? Surely there will be a rescue. We won’t give up hope.
Matthew 16:24-28,  Mark 8:34-38,  Luke 9:23-27, 1Thessalonians 4:15-18

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