THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS
Meet me here, loving Savior, speak to me through Your Word.
Read Mark 8:27–9:1
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
27 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 Messiah.”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Predicts His Death
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
The Way of the Cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
9 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
a Mark 8:35 The Greek word means either life or soul; also in verses 36 and 37.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen you became a Christian, what did you think it would involve? What is the difference between a believer and a disciple?
After months of being with them on the road, Jesus now asks the disciples the all-important question (29): “Who do you say I am?” Having seen Him at work, and heard His teaching, do they now have the spiritual insight to recognize His true identity? It is a watershed moment.
Peter responds with the bold affirmation, “You are the Messiah” (29). At least he had managed to work this out when the others were less sure. It is this confession that leads Jesus to speak, for the first time, about His coming death (31–33). Yes, He is the Messiah, but He will be a suffering Messiah. This is too much for Peter to contemplate, and his contradiction of Jesus brings a stinging rebuke from the Master.
Not only will Jesus suffer as the Messiah, but all who follow Him will suffer as well (8:34 – 9:1). The call to take up our cross is a call to radical discipleship: the willingness to follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
We must beware watering down the terms of discipleship in order to make the Gospel more palatable to our generation. Wishy-washy followers will never win a hostile world.
When has the shadow of the cross fallen on your life? When has it cost you something to follow Jesus? What is Jesus asking you to forsake or “demote” in importance in order to follow Him?
Spirit of God, I need Your grace. I want to follow Christ, but I need more grace.
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