ON THE ROAD OF THE CROSS
Lord, make me a true disciple.
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.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Thank You, Lord, for the message of the cross.
In verses 27–29, Jesus queries whether His disciples are aware of public opinion about Him and what they have understood about Him. The phrase “on the way” in verse 27occurs four more times in 8:22 – 10:52, Mark’s main section on discipleship (Mark 9:33,34; 10:32,52). It is shorthand for “on the way of discipleship”. As the disciples literally travel with Jesus, they are also on the road of discipleship, learning about Jesus and His mission. Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ is correct, in keeping with Mark’s intent (Mark 1:1) – but does he truly understand?
Following Peter’s confession, Jesus explains that He must suffer, die, and rise again, but Peter finds this unacceptable and actually rebukes Jesus (31,32). In turn, Jesus’ rebuke of Peter shows that Peter has only partially understood Jesus and his mission. His partial insight is reminiscent of the blurred vision of the blind man earlier and shows he needs another divine touch. Peter’s outburst reveals that he thinks from a human rather than a divine perspective. A disciple must develop a divine mindset – a mind controlled by God to understand the things of God.
In 8:34 – 9:1, Jesus extends his teaching to the crowd and mentions two crucial aspects of discipleship – self-denial and cross-bearing. To deny oneself is to remove the “I” from the center of one’s life and surrender this place to God. In today’s world, self is elevated, but in God’s society self needs to die. Similarly, to take up one’s cross means a willingness to forsake all – even one’s life – to follow Jesus. Self-denial and cross-bearing are inextricably linked, because the only solution for the elimination of self is to crucify it (cf. Gal 2:20). A Christ-like life is a cross-shaped life.
Consider how you can grow by adopting a divine mindset and a cross-shaped life. Be encouraged: “God always helps to affect what He commands” (Augustine).
Lord, our perspective is in line: it profits nothing to gain the world but to lose our soul. We fully understand. Thank You for redeeming us.
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