Summary: Jesus does not invite us to watch him in the trenches of ministry, but to get in the trenches with him.

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Title: Into the Trenches with Jesus

Text: Mark 8:31-38

Thesis: Jesus does not invite us to watch him in the trenches of ministry, but to get in the trenches with him.


This week I read about a mid-50’s Parker Brothers board game called “Going to Jerusalem.” In this board game your game piece was a little plastic disciple with a robe, beard, sandals, and a staff. In order to move around the board you had to look up answers in a little black New Testament provided with the game.

In this game you always started in Bethlehem and you made stops at the Mount of Olives, Bethsaida, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, and Bethany. It was possible with two rolls of the dice to go directly to the Triumphal Entry. But the game never got to the Crucifixion or the Resurrection. There were no demons or angry Pharisees. In this board game you made your way through the nice stories and the adventure was always safe and suited for a nice Christian family to play on a Sunday afternoon walk with Jesus.

Unfortunately, traveling with Jesus isn’t about being little plastic disciples who only go through the nice stories and never have to get to the crucifixion. If that is our understanding of following Christ, we need to take a good long look at our expectations, especially as we continue our journey in the Season of Lent. (Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, IL,

In board games and in real life, followers of Christ seem to bring along certain expectations when they decide to follow Christ.

I. Followers of Christ may bring along their own expectations.

Then Jesus began to tell them that he, the Son of Man, would suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the religious leaders. He would be killed and three days later he would rise again. As he talked about this openly with his disciples Peter took him aside and told him he shouldn’t say things like that. Mark 8:31-32

The key to their expectations is found in the discussion that immediately preceded this story.

In Mark 8:27-30 Jesus had asked his followers what people were saying about him and specifically, “Who do people say that I am?” Their reply was some say John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the other prophets.

The Jesus asked them, “Who do you say I am?” And Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God.”

The Jews had always believed they were the Children of God and they looked back at the reign of King David as the height of the Israel’s glory. Their dream was that one day another king of David’s stature would rise to restore the glory of their people. They believed the day would come when all of their enemies would be broken and their Messiah would lead them in power and a peace that would last forever.

Jesus Christ was their hope. And now their hope was talking about suffering, being rejected, and killed…

No one wants to hear that kind of negative talk.

Reporting on former President Bill Clinton’s appearance on Good Morning America the reporter said the former President gave President Barack Obama an “A” grade for his first month in office. Then he said that Obama needs to put on a more positive face when speaking to the American people about the economy. (Tahman Bradley, ABC: Obama Should Sound More Hopeful, February 19, 2009)

So the mood was, “Come on Jesus, give us some good news. We don’t want to hear doom and gloom. We want to hear that our leader has a plan to reverse our miserable circumstances and reclaim our rightful place as the blessed people of God. We need a good bailout plan and a stimulus package."

In 1919 several members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series out of bitterness toward their team owner Charles Comiskey, who was notorious for underpaying his players. So in exchange for a bribe that exceeded what they should have been paid, they agreed to throw the series. After the trial, where the famous Shoeless Joe Jackson was suspended from playing baseball, a Chicago Herald Examiner reporter wrote, “As Jackson departed from the Grand Jury room, a small boy clutched at his sleeve and tagged along after him. "Say it ain’t so, Joe," he pleaded. "Say it ain’t so." "Yes kid, I’m afraid it is," Jackson replied. "Well, I never would’ve thought it," the boy said. (

It was as if Peter and the other disciples were tugging at Jesus’ sleeve and saying, “Say it ain’t so. Say it ain’t so, Jesus.” Jesus was not meeting their expectations.

Before Jesus responded to Peter, the bible says he turned and looked at his disciples.

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