Summary: Dominant Thought: Following Jesus means being willing to accept His plans for self-denial, and not being ashamed of the Lord Whose lifestyle and mission is contrary to the world's mode of thinking
A guy was on a business trip and thought it would be nice to come home with a little gift for his wife. He stopped off at a perfume counter in a nice store. “How about some perfume?” he asked the clerk.
She showed him a bottle of really nice perfume - $120.
“Oooh, that’s too much. Do you have something smaller?”
She came back with a smaller bottle - $78
“That’s still pretty steep.” She came back, annoyed with a little bottle - $35.
“You know, I guess I’d just like to see something that’s really cheap.”
The clerk handed him a mirror.
Many people are approaching their relationship with the Lord this way. It’s nothing new. 500 years ago, Martin Luther wrote, “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” A little over 70 years ago, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
There’s a risk involved in this subject today. The risk is that someone might get the idea that life in Jesus is something we are earning. There’s the risk that we might somehow think that salvation – Heaven – is something you earn by being good enough or doing enough of the right things. It isn’t. Scripture is very clear on that point.
At the same time, there’s a risk that somehow we would downplay what Jesus said and manage to ignore it completely. My hope, instead, is to understand what Jesus was saying in Mark 8, to understand it in the light of all Scripture, and to leave with a grasp of what we’re supposed to do about it. The question is about the cost of living – eternal living. What does eternal life cost?
More than one person came to Jesus with the question “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus answered them. He didn’t say, “Nothing. I’ve got that covered and you don’t’ have to do anything at all.” While being saved is a matter of God’s gift to us, there’s clearly some action to be taken on our part when it comes to accepting that gift. There are conditions to receive it.
Ill - Let’s say I’m a benevolent person, and I’m also stinking rich. I tell you I want to give a gift of $100,000. You just have to show up to receive it. Any questions? Yeah! Where? What day? What time? What should I wear? Do I have to do anything else? We understand this, don’t we?
The passage we’re looking at in Mk 8 is one of the few teaching passages in Mark. Here, as He works His way toward Jerusalem, Jesus begins to prepare His disciples for His approaching death. Mark uses this part of his gospel to prepare his readers for the same thing. Jesus is about to pay the cost for us to inherit eternal life, to offer it to us as a gift. So, what does it require of us? The answer to that begins in v27:
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" 28 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." 29 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ." 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
The cost of living requires that we:
I. Know Who He is (27-30)
One of the main goals of the gospel writers is to plainly tell us that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One of God.
This is “the good confession”; the confession that Peter had learned from following Jesus, the confession that made the Pharisees so angry, the confession that Jesus made before Pilate, the confession that Jesus says we must make before men.
Eternal life, Heaven or Hell, your whole salvation, centers around this question: Who do you say that Jesus is?
Jesus was heading for Jerusalem where He would be crucified. His disciples needed to understand Who this was. Lots of people had opinions. There were a lot of ideas about Who Jesus is – JB, Elijah, one of the prophets. What if He were just a great man? What if He were just another prophet? That would make His death on the cross a tragedy, just like the death of so many of the prophets of years gone by. But, if he really was the Anointed One of God, His death would have a whole other meaning.