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Death Denying

Her green eyes pooled with tears as she tried to choke out the truthful words, "I'm dying."

A lack of understanding, topped with fear, struck a pounding blow. "No, Mommy!" this then 17-year-old girl protested. There was no rationalizing it. I blurted out an emotional response in sheer ignorance.

A jumble of questions collided in my brain. Malignant cancer? What was that? What did it all mean? I thought someone had to be terribly confused . . . and I refused to admit that it was me!

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things

and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law,

and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.

‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the things of God,

but the things of men

(Mk 8:31-33).

Three times Jesus told His disciples of His impending death. And three times He was met with a different response.

  • The 1st response was denial (Mt 16:21-28)

  • The 2nd time conjured grief (Mt 17:22-23)

  • The 3rd rallied a mother's request (Mt 20:17-28)

I can marginally empathize with the impulsive response of Peter’s when Jesus predicted His death the first time. Isn't death for denying? That’s what our errant fallacy of immortality screams, anyway.

Remember, there’s no denying His death.

Jesus informed His disciples they were not to be ashamed of the words He spoke—even when they were hard to hear. Disciples are to have in mind the things of God, no matter how tempting it is to do otherwise.

Jesus knew He was going to suffer and die. And yet, He loved. And yet, He served. And yet, He faithfully administered God's grace, never denying His imminent death.

Death is not to be denied. Will not be denied. It is to be faced head-on—in full view of resurrection in Christ, the One who overcame the grave.

God of grace, Your Son truly amazes us. Because of Him, we have a hope that gives us peace in the face of death. May we take His words to heart, not denying Your truth. Allow them to breathe life into us. And courage to speak the gospel of our Lord’s death and resurrection.

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