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: