Summary: We must continually pick up our cross and follow Jesus even if we are entering an uncomfortable zone
Jesus had just asked his disciples a very important question, a question that we need to ask ourselves also. Who is this man called Jesus. You see we must know where we stand with Christ , we must know that he is our redeemer in order to be able to take up our cross and follow him.
Lets look at our text today ( Mark 8: 31- 38)
When Jesus begins to talk about His journey to the cross it appears it makes Peter a little uneasy and he begins to rebuke Jesus. We cant blame Peter for not wanting Christ to take that journey after all they the mindset the the disciples had was that Jesus would draw a sword and mount a magnificent steed and conquer their oppressors. They didn't want a gentle lamb that would be led to slaughter for a sacrifice.
Peter just didn't know that Jesus had to go to the cross in order for all of mankind to be saved from the oppression and bondage of sin.
We are a lot like Peter we want to follow as long as the terms are agreeable to us but as soon as things start to get a little uncomfortable we start to second guess that still small voice that is calling to us. We want to be Christians as long as its suitable to us, but the minute we have to deny ourselves of something, as soon as we have to choose something that makes us stand out from the crowd or heaven forbid go against the norm of the world we are ready to bail out. When things get a little uncomfortable we second guess following Christ.
When we get uncomfortable is when we must operate on faith. We have to know who Jesus is to us and step out in faith knowing that Jesus meant what he said when he told us he would be with us always.
When I became a firefighter for the city of Meridian I learned about stepping out in faith and trusting someone other than myself. I remember the day well when i had to follow an old seasoned Captain into what I thought were the gates of Hell themselves. I had been on the job for several months and had been to a few training fires and some other fires but had mostly just been a gopher and never had really gotten in on the initial action. but thanksgiving day I was riding in the jump-seat at station six , just three of us The driver, the Captain and the rookie. I knew that if we had a call that it would be just me and the captain that would have to enter the structure and that our lives and possibly the lives of others would depend on our actions. But hey I had the badge and the shirt, I was getting a paycheck I was a fireman I could handle anything I could follow the Captain.
You know its easy to say that until you actually have to put your life on the line , thanksgiving day 1990 I found out how hard it actually was to put your money where your mouth is. We were paged out to a call about 12 blocks from the station we loaded up on the truck and took off as we rounded the curve on state blvd you could smell the smoke and as the truck pulled passed the house I could see smoke coming out a couple of windows. The Captain jumped out of the front of the truck and as I was getting off the back he yelled get a line and follow me I grabbed a hand-line and stepped on the porch about the time the Captain kicked the door open and smoke and embers billowed out of the door and the Captain said lets go cuz, follow me. Thats also the exact time that I became very uncomfortable, and for a split second my mind said "hold up hoss, this don't look good." About that time the Captain hunkered down and disappeared into the thick black smoke. In a split second I decided that If I was going to be a firefighter that I had to trust the man in front of me to be with me and he and I go through this moment as a team. I followed and together we made it out. During my career I went to hundreds of more fires, as a firefighter and as a Captain, never once did I regret following that Captain on that Thanksgiving day and when I became a Captain I led many young men into what we called a baptism of fire knowing that they were a lot like I was they had to decide if they were going to trust the one they were about to follow. Some did and they found a family, a brotherhood, some didn't and they moved on.