Summary: There are two groups and we have to decide which one we are going to be. There are fans and there are followers. Here’s the difference. Fans only follow when you are popular. Once you make one wrong move they turn against you.


Fan or Follower?

Mark 8:31-38

Let me ask you a very deep question this morning. Serious business. Did you know that Ben & Jerry’s has a new ice cream flavor? They put cookies and actual peanut butter cookie pieces mixed into the ice cream and then they bore a hole down the center of the pint and fill the space with peanut butter. And why does it seem that they come out with a brand-new flavor on the first day of your new diet? So, a story about them. Ben Cohen had a rare sinus condition that affected his taste buds. In other words, he could not taste certain flavors. So his partner Jerry, kept adding more and more flavoring to the test batches they were making. Now, as a result, their ice cream is so full of flavor, frankly it’s hard to resist. Then you see their ads on TV. That doesn’t help. You walk by the ice cream in the freezer section I hear this voice coming from the ice cream section... Hey pastor! Oh Pastor!!

So I’m actually getting to a point here. You want to lose weight by this summer? Stay away from Ben & Jerry’s. This stuff is definitely a stumbling block. The word Satan as used in the Bible comes to us from a word in Hebrew that means stumbling block. It’s an enemy. The opponent. Anything that gets in the way of our goal.

When Jesus says get behind me Satan, he is basically saying get out of my sight! You see Peter was stepping into the path that Jesus is walking and trying to stop Jesus from doing exactly what it was he came to do. Here is the thing that makes this interesting to me. It would’ve been much easier for Jesus to not do what he was sent to do. But Jesus had already made the choice. He was going to the cross. It would’ve been easier for Jesus to just say no. Could’ve kept his job as a carpenter. But instead he made an active choice to die-for you and me. It was a decision that He struggled with so much that the Bible says his sweat became as drops of blood. The clinical name for this is Hematridosis. It’s a rare but it does occur. In London six different men were diagnosed with this. All of them were criminals and all of them were on death row. It’s rare but it happens.

Now this is a scene from the Bible that is filled with power. The setting for it from chapters 7 and 8 include the feeding of the multitudes, the healing of a blind man and also Jesus walking on water. He had allowed the disciples to experience His power but now he wanted to point them to the reality of what was next—of what was on the horizon. And what Jesus was about to share with them would not be what they expected. Their idea of a Messiah was that he would reign as king, triumphant, royal and regal. But Jesus begins to describe a Messiah that would have to deal with death rejection and suffering. That was what was on the horizon for Jesus.

Look at verses 31-33.

Jesus said it as plainly as possible because he didn’t want there to be any misunderstandings about what was about to take place. Often Jesus spoke in parables, a bit like a riddle; at times I think they would sort of scratch their heads and wonder, what’s Jesus talking about? The disciples had been watching as Jesus performed one miracle after another; one victory after another... The crowds were gathering by the thousands to see him and to hear his powerful message and now the message was changing-not only was he talking about sacrifice and death and rejection for himself-now he was saying that those who choose to follow him can only expect the same.

It’s interesting that Jesus referred to himself in this passage by the title Son of Man. It seems to be his favorite description of himself. It is used 81 times in the Gospels and neither his friends nor his enemies ever referred to him in this way. In doing this he was clearly identifying with the people. He was gaining popularity and he chose not to proclaim himself as the Messiah too early. Because he was still laying groundwork for his ministry. He was working his way to the cross but his disciples needed to be fully prepared to carry on with his ministry. This is why he kept telling his disciples not to tell anybody about what they were talking about---the time had not yet come for those things to be announced.

But apparently Peter didn’t agree-- this idea of what the Messiah would be like-- this must’ve seemed foreign to him. So Peter speaks up. Verse 32. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. This is equivalent to a kid who is wrestling with his dad and thinks he is winning. My boys and I used to do this... We would pull the chairs and the couch back in the living room and have wrestling matches. Dad allows them to think their winning knowing though he could take them at any time. But then they cross a line-they’re coming at you a little too hard and your dad strength kicks in. Dad sort of flexes his muscles and takes charge.

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