Ups and Downs
Peter, the brash disciple, does it again. When Jesus asks who the disciples think he is, Peter responds that He is the Messiah (the redeemer King). Continuing the theme of the secret, Jesus asks them not to say anything yet. Immediately afterward, Jesus predicts that he will die and it is Peter who declares that this will not be so (earning a rebuke).
The Kingdom of God, you see, doesn’t come about by might or sword or any means of humans. This King redeems not through a traditional war, but through one much greater. His battle is not with flesh and blood, but with Death itself, and so he must meet it. Jesus intends to invade Death’s territory to redeem us from it.
Count the Cost
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die” so begins Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. Here Jesus is giving that call. To take up the cross is not merely to carry a burden, it is a cross that leads somewhere. There is only one place a cross may lead, and that is to the place of the skull. Come, and die.
In the process of so doing, though, Jesus encourages that some alive now will “see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Jesus has begun its coming and this transformation is sealed by his later resurrection. The Kingdom Come in power. Both here and being built. [selah]