Will we answer the call?
”Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’
They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’
‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’
Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the 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 concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’Mark 8: 27 - 38
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.’
Take up your cross and follow me
- In this passage, Jesus gives His disciples clear instructions about the shape of discipleship.
- Our society is one in which individuals are encouraged to climb the career ladder – Jesus turns this on its head
If you want to follow me you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.
The best and worst
- In the first part of the story, we see Peter at his best and his worst.
- He recognises that Jesus is the Messiah but he and Jesus have different ideas about what the Messiah will be like.
- Peter is perhaps expecting a glorious takeover of the Roman authorities and a restoration of the fortunes of Israel and a home they can call their own; Jesus explains clearly that He must suffer – be rejected and killed but three days later rise again.
- Jesus says that those who what to follow Him must follow Him to the cross.
- We must take on an identity and a way of living that say ‘we are not going to live the way the world wants us to anymore – we are going to fashion our lives on Jesus.’ What does this cross-bearing look like?
- It looks like a myriad of things – it looks like people such as Mother Theresa who give up worldly wealth and possessions to help the poorest in the World; it looks like missionaries who give up careers to follow God to the ends of the World, on a smaller scale, it looks like the person at work/school/in the pub speaking out when something isn’t fair or refusing to enter into gossip.
We are not going to live the way the world wants us to anymore – we are going to fashion our lives on Jesus.
- Our answer to Jesus’ question ‘Who do you say I am?’ will hopefully end up in us finding the real Messiah and this will come at the cost of our lives but we have a Messiah who has gone before us and is willing to die for us so we can follow Him to the cross confident that He has made a way for us to be with Him forever.
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