Jesus has some promising words, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world." (Jn.16:33)
Notice how trouble is guaranteed whereas peace is optional. In other words, following Christ doesn't entitle us to an easier life. Yet, it does promise God's presence in the midst of it.
It's odd to think that God doesn't show up because I cry out.
He doesn't because God's already present.
Maybe what's supposed to happen when life's challenges or prosperity occurs is finally notice that God's already there.
“From that time on…” is our current series and a phrase Matthew uses as a key turning point & building block in Jesus’ mission.
"From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." (Mt.16:21)
This represents a new emphasis in Jesus’ ministry. Instead of teaching the crowds in parables, he concentrates on preparing the disciples for his coming suffering and death. Except that’s he’s misunderstood. He teaches us about HIS mission and OUR expectations. Our expectation of Christ can often be our un-doing. It certainly was for the disciples, at least initially. They hoped for a more triumphal leader. Instead he predicted his demise.
In thinking about our own experiences – personally & together — this provides a nice framework to consider our next steps as we see where God has brought us AND move toward Resurrection Sunday with the promise of new life.