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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Following Jesus To The Cross (The Way Forward In Christ Part 216)

Gospel: John 21:15-19

What Jesus told Peter is relevant to us as we continue on our walk with Christ. We start off as babies in Christ, then grow into maturity. The process is long and challenging. Many, while continuing to follow Jesus, lag behind, veer to the sides or walk without a clear path forward.

What did Jesus tell Peter? “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (v.18). Prior to Christ, we did our own thing. We did what we wanted and what pleased us. Then we experienced renewal. But still, for many, they have their own preferences, priorities, and agenda. We look to Jesus, but we do not turn over our whole lives to him. Or we say we do, but we mostly still look to our own directions.

Even for Peter, who was the foremost apostle, who was in Jesus’ intimate core group, whom he chose to lead his Church, he denied Jesus three times. Now Jesus gives him an opportunity to return to the true path. Three times Peter professes to love Jesus. And three times Jesus tells him to take care of the flock.

For us, in doing God’s work, we will face persecution. For Peter, what Jesus told him signified “by what kind of death he would glorify God” (v.19a). Then Jesus told Peter, “Follow me.” (v.19b). To follow Jesus is to walk where he walked, and to go where he went. And ultimately, that is to the cross. Indeed Peter himself was crucified.

How are we to follow Jesus?

First, we must love him with our whole being. It is easy enough to say we love Jesus, for indeed we do. But how much do we love him? With our whole heart, mind, and strength? To what extent will we go in manifesting our love for him? Withholding nothing back and offering him our very lives?

Second, we must serve him, especially caring for the flock and bringing many others to new life in him. Our love for Jesus extends to all others whom he himself loved, to the point of dying on the cross for them/us all. We evangelize, and we take care of people we have brought to him, to the extent we are able. We carry on the divine work of Jesus.

Third, we must know that suffering lies ahead if we truly and closely follow Jesus. It is not going to be a bed of roses. It is not traveling to heaven in first-class comfort. We expect trials and challenges and pains, but knowing we participate in the cross of Christ, these should give us great joy.

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