Summary: The most difficult words that Jesus ever uttered are easy to understand but hard to do. Let’s see how they would solve some of humanity's biggest problems. Let’s examine the selfless life in Mark 8:27-38.
The most difficult words that Jesus ever uttered are easy to understand but hard to do. Purpose: Let’s see how they would solve some of humanity's biggest problems. Plan: Let’s examine the selfless life in Mark 8:27-38.
The Anointed One
Mark 8:29-30 “He said to them, ‘But who do you [plural] say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ [Messiah, anointed One].’ Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.”
Christ or Messiah means the anointed One. Unlike worldly anointed kings, anointed, for Jesus, meant the cross, giving His life for the world. Peter didn’t want to hear it. We don’t like to hear it. But that's what being anointed heaven’s King means. And to follow Christ, the anointed One, we too must live lives of self sacrifice.
Counterfeit Christianity claims to be spirit-filled, but is really materialistic and self-centered, focusing on personal experiences, not sacrificing for others. Fake Christianity focuses on getting wealth for self instead of using wealth to give. Heaven’s anointing is to give up the self so that others may live. How did Jesus explain this?
The Son of Man must Suffer
Mark 8:31-32 "And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him."
Do we rebuke Jesus when He talks about His true purpose of anointing? How did Jesus respond to Peter?
The Things of God
Mark 8:33 “But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’ ”
A true understanding of what it means to be anointed is to be “mindful of the things of God.”
Mark 8:34 “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ ”
Selfishness is the road to mental illness, harmful behavior and death. Sinful societies build altars of self-worship and idols of self-congratulation. Cities are filled with skyscrapers like a giant trophy cabinet of men’s egos. Like skyscrapers, castles were created by a selfish ruling class. God gave the first man a garden, not a castle. Castles create mental illness. Gardens encourage mental health. The idolatry of SELF expresses itself in thousands of ways. Wealth is a delusion that only guarantees misery and loneliness. Jesus gave the antidote, deny self and follow Him.
Whoever Loses His Life
Mark 8:35 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
This is one of life’s great mysteries: a selfish life is a dead life. The ONLY worthwhile life is giving not getting. In giving, we gain the whole world, it is the way to save our lives. True riches are found in selfless service to others. True success is overcoming self-absorbed living. True celebrity is being found in the book of life.
What Will it Profit
Mark 8:36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Real heroes are in all walks of life. They make great sacrifices for others like soldiers, firefighters, police who protect and serve, missionaries and volunteers who serve the needy. Jesus’ one-time sacrifice saved the whole world. Living selflessly also saves humanity. Serving is where the true riches are. What do we choose?
Exchange for Your Soul
Mark 8:37 “Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
We have spent a lifetime steeped in the propaganda and culture of a selfish world. It even enters the church as a counterfeit gospel of self-interest rather than self-sacrifice. We sell our souls to the devil so we can “live our best life now.” Is anything worth more than your soul? Do we believe in counterfeit Christianity? Are we ashamed of living like Jesus and sacrificing for others?
Ashamed of Jesus
Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Extreme selfishness is a very popular counterfeit Christianity. It teaches a self-obsessed life pursuing materialism, not the things of heaven. It is ashamed of Jesus and His words, and pretends that the road to hell is good. True Christianity is the exact opposite of the materialistic, narcissistic counterfeits. True Christianity is turning from selfishness, taking up our cross and following Him.