From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
— Matthew 16:21 NLT
As Jesus' disciples, the major points in our lives are a series of transitions strung together with prayer. The quality and impact of our lives are dependent on God's blessing and our successful use of the resources and opportunities he places before us.
Jesus' ministry is very much the same. He now faces the greatest transition of his ministry as he moves toward the awful and yet glorious "opportunity" that lies ahead, the cross. Only now is he ready to let folks call him Son of God, Son of the Righteous One, because he will forever redefine what it means to be Messiah, Christ, Son of God, and Savior.
In the process of redefining what people thought the role of Messiah should be, Jesus will also give even greater definition to what it means to be his disciple. His is the way of the cross — service and salvation at great sacrifice. As he journeys down this road, he looks over his shoulder to his disciples and to us, then says, "Follow me."
Holy and loving God, I still marvel that you would subject yourself to the limitation of human flesh and the way of the cross. Please help me to be more willing to follow in the way of the cross and serve others redemptively, even if the price is high. Please give me courage for the journey and a heart more like Jesus so that I can see the eternal stakes in the lives of those I serve just as he did. In the name of my Savior and Sacrifice, Jesus, I pray. Amen.