Summary: Jesus speaks to His disciples (and us) describing what it means to follow the cross.
February 25, 2018
Reading: Mark 8:31-38
The Way of the Cross
In this reading, there is very little to view as confusing. We begin by listening to the Christ’s own words (verse 31) “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
So, let’s review.
Was He rejected by the elders, high priests and scribes?
“Pharisees were members of a party that believed in resurrection and in following legal traditions that were ascribed not to the Bible but to “the traditions of the fathers.” ... In Mark's view, Jesus' main adversaries in Galilee were scribes, but, according to Matthew, they were Pharisees.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jesus/Scribes-and-Pharisees
Just who were these high priests, elders and scribes?
“The chief priests were members of the high priestly families or those acting with the authority of the high priest, while the scribes with whom Jesus argued were probably lawyers and judges. While the scribes interpreted Jewish law, they did not make it, hence their conflicts with Jesus, who claimed authority ...”
Not just the elders, priests and scribes, but even his hometown folks rejected him:
28 And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things
29 and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. Luke 4:28-29
It really doesn’t take much to realize that Jesus, with all His greatness, miracles, healings, mercy and grace, led a life of rejection. There are a lot of clergy and dedicated ministers of the gospel who may feel that way – at least at times. Early on in my ministry My parents all but disowned me comparing my ministry to living off charity and that they were ashamed of me.
Mid-week we spoke of suffering and focusing on the ministry instead of that suffering. No amount of suffering that we Christians can experience will even approach the suffering of Christ, who set the example. For it is the glory ahead that is the reward for all who accept Him.
“..remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” James 5:20 That’s sufficient encouragement right there, wouldn’t you say?
Immediately, I was asked, “Whose sins, theirs or mine?” My answer was what I believe Jesus would say, “Does it really matter?”
Moving on, we read that Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him. Peter could not understand why Jesus would talk about being killed and rising again in three days. Thus, Peter and the others were startled into a state of confusion. Why would the Messiah, the Savior, very Son of God, have to die and leave them, especially now when they are just starting to grasp His teachings? It doesn’t surprise me one bit that it was Peter (the ever zealous one) to be the spokesperson for the disciples and actually confront Jesus with these concerns.
What a shocking response from Jesus! Jesus wanted to drive home a point and did it in an unforgettable fashion: “Get thee behind me Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (verse 33)
Who are we to question God? Our lives are filled with mysteries and questions dealing with God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible and all the teachings on obedience.
i.e. – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8
We could spend the rest of this message right here but will save it for another day. Suffice it to say that to truly give reverence to the Sabbath and honor it as a holy (set aside) day of rest has all but gone by the wayside, of many practicing Christians.
Again, moving on, we read about “The Way of the Cross.
Jesus tells Peter and the other disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up the cross and follow me.” He goes so far as to say that following Him means dying to self and living for Him. Basically, Jesus says that to live the worldly life may well mean losing your very soul.
Picking and choosing what we care to practice and disregarding teachings that may be difficult or even just don’t make sense to us is exactly what Jesus is talking about. Pews are warmed all over with folks who enjoy great praise and worship music, meaningful bible born messages and leave Sunday morning church only to return to an everyday life that is directed by personal views, many of which are contrary to Christ’s teachings.
Are you one of them? To reject the Word of Christ is to reject Christ!
Let us pray