There’s a famous ‘experiment’ in which children are offered to have something yummy now, or wait and get something much better later.
Unsurprisingly, some of the kids take the lolly now! The author of the study claims that experiments like this show which children will ‘succeed’ in life i.e. the ones who are willing to delay instant gratification for the sake of a much better ‘reward’ in the future …
Jesus says something similar at the end of Mark Chapter 8 (which we’ll look at in 2 weeks). There, after hearing about the various (& insufficient) ideas people had about him (v27-28), he asks the Apostles who they think he is (v29). Peter knows— Jesus is the Messiah (Christ). However, Peter’s understanding about God’s Messiah is very faulty. Peter thinks Jesus is all about victory now: overthrowing the Romans with a mighty army. Jesus, however, teaches them (& teaches us) that his ‘victory’ will be delayed: he will first suffer, be rejected and be killed (v31).
Peter thinks Jesus is totally wrong and his views are harmful, so he rebukes Jesus. Can you imagine rebuking God’s Messiah?! Jesus then rebukes Peter, because his thinking is the way this world thinks and operates, but not how God does (v33). The world thinks ‘now’ not later, and thinks power and control, not rejection and death.
Next, Jesus in effect says: as for the Christ, so for Christians. Christ tells you that part (it’s not the whole story) of being a Christian is not having ‘victory’ or power or reward ‘now’, but later. ‘Now’ involves: self-denial, following not our own desires, but following Christ, ‘dying’ to self, ‘losing’ your life for Christ’s sake (v34-35a) and standing for Christ, even if other people don’t like that (v38a).
For those who give their ‘now’ to Christ not self, the ‘later’ will mean eternal life and salvation. On Judgement Day, Christ will gladly acknowledge and welcome you if you life for him now. So, are you living for ‘now’, or later? May God help us to live for Him!