Summary: We may not understand all of what Jesus says ~ or see where He’ll take us, as we continue to walk with Him; but, the point is, do we trust Him with our life and with our heart?
Walkin’ with Jesus:
Scripture Text: Mark 8.31-38
Did you hear about the high school basketball team that showed exceptional sportsmanship? A couple of weeks ago, the two-teams suited-up to play. …The problem-was that one of the key-players couldn’t-go because his mother was in the hospital ~ …very-sick, with cancer.
The two teams suited-up, …ran into the gym, …and went through their pre-game warm-up-drills. Shortly after tip-off, …someone unexpected walked into the gym… It was the player whose-mother was in the hospital. He made his way to where his team was seated, …and he sat down on the bleachers behind his team’s bench. As-soon-as the coach saw him sitting-there, …he asked if he wanted to join them on the bench. “Coach,” he said, “I want to play!”
Now, here’s what you don’t know… Earlier that day, the boy’s mom died. The cancer had overwhelmed her weakened-body. The fight was over. She was gone. Her son was with her in the hospital, when she passed.
As the coach listened to his young-player tell what had happened that day ~ …all that he had been through, …with his mom passing-away, an’-everything ~ …the coach realized that to let the boy play just-might-be like-therapy for him. He told him to go to the locker-room and put on his uniform.
When the young man emerged from the locker room and took his place on the bench, …the coach tried to put him into the ball-game. There was a problem, though.
The problem-was, that since the-young-man was not-present at the beginning of the game, …his name-and-number were not in the official score-keeper’s books. And, …if the coach wanted to put the player into-the-game, …then it would mean a technical-foul. The other-team would receive two foul-shots and the ball.
The other-team’s-coach came over to the scorer’s-table, …to see what all-the-discussion was-about. The referee told the second-coach that the first team was being penalized with a technical-foul because they were inserting a player into the line-up who wasn’t on the roster. The second-coach then discovered why that player wasn’t on the roster ~ …that he had been with-his-mother in the hospital; …that she had passed away, due to cancer; …that he had come to the game to kind-of get-away-from the heaviness-and-the-heartache.
The second-coach told the referee that they didn’t have to call a technical foul. He said it was o.k.-with-him if the boy was added to the line-up. He didn’t want the first-team penalized for this-kind-of-situation. But, the referees refused! They said that, “the rules-are-the-rules.” If the young man was going to play, …then they had to call a technical-foul. And if they called a technical-foul, …then the second-team had-to-take two foul-shots!
The second-coach huddled-up his players. He looked at the-one who would-shoot the foul-shots. He said, “You know what you have to do?” Without a moment’s hesitation, …the foul-shooter nodded his head with an attitude of absolute-seriousness. He walked-out onto the court. All-alone, standing on the free-throw-line… The referee tossed him the ball for the first-of the technical-foul shots. Every-eye in the gym, trans-fixed on him. The player dribbled a couple-of-times, …looked up at the rim, as-if taking-aim, …and he released the ball. It traveled all of about ten feet!
Air ball! The crowd was perplexed. The player was non-phased. The referee grabbed-the-ball and tossed it to him for the second foul-shot of the technical. The player bounced the ball. Raised it, as-if taking aim, …and he released the ball. This-time, …the ball simply rolled out of his hands and fell innocently to-the-floor!
At-this, the crowd and the other-team realized what he had done. He had missed on purpose!
In a world in-which sports-and-winning are idolized, …the players and the coaches on the hardwood that-night stood in-solidarity and in-compassion with the one-who-was hurting-and-grieving. Of-course, one team ended-up winning the game. But-afterward, both teams went-out-together and ate-pizza. And all the players learned that night, …that winning isn’t everything!
Our attitudes about winning and success, …and the stigmas-about-losing and what-appears-to-be failure, …these things fall-under-the-microscope of today’s passage.
The disciples may have looked at Jesus with one-eye-brow raised, …and their foreheads all screwed-up, …and they just-might have said-to-Him: “Say what!?!”
I. Say What!?! ~ Must!
The first thing Jesus said, that caught their attention ~ …because it seemed to come outta-left-field ~ …the first-thing He said was that He “must”.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected… and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” (v. 31)
Death and crucifixion were pretty-common in New Testament times. The Romans used this-form of the death-penalty, …as-much-as a deterrent, …as they did for punishment. Crucifixion was public. Many times, the criminals were raised on crosses right-on-the-side of busy-roads. So-that everybody could gawk. And-so the crowds and passers-by could jeer-and-make-fun-of those hanging-there in agony.