Summary: The road of discipleship is difficult

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The Rough Road of Discipleship

Mark 8:31-38

John Shearhart

October 18, 2009


In his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman writes, “I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether.”

“Christianity is a demanding and serious religion.”

The four Gospels narrate the story of Jesus, and the book of Mark characterizes Him as a servant on an important mission. This mission is so important that in the first eight chapters the word “immediately” appears more than thirty times. There is a sense of urgency to His work, which is both demanding and serious.

Jesus is baptized, and “immediately” He comes up out of the water (1:10); “immediately” afterwards the Holy Spirit leads Him into the wilderness (1:12); then He meets some disciples, and they “immediately” follow Him (1:18, 20); He casts out a demon, and “immediately” the news about Him spreads (1:28); He leaves the synagogue, and “immediately” He comes to someone’s house.

Mark shows Jesus steadily moving around from place to place fulfilling His mission.

But everything slows down in chapter eight to focus on one moment; in this moment the heavy demands and the seriousness of Christianity are defined.

Mark 8:27-30 says, “Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ 28They told Him, saying, ‘John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.’ 29And He continued by questioning them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’ 30And He warned them to tell no one about Him.”

This question and Peter’s confession segue to the commands in verses 31-38. What you’re about to hear are not words from a mere man, even a man as great as John the Baptist or the prophet Elijah; they are the words of the Christ.

Before I get into the text let me begin by asking you His question: Who do you say that He is? If you say He is Christ, as I assume most of you will, then I also assume you will receive His commands as slaves receive commands from a master.

Christianity is neither easy nor amusing; that’s why today’s sermon is called…

The Rough Road of Discipleship

After affirming His identity, Jesus begins to map out this rough road for the disciples. In blazing the trail:

1. Jesus Accepted the World’s Rejection (:31-32)

Mark 8:31-32 says, “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32And He was stating the matter plainly.”

I want you to notice four key words in this portion of the text:

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