Year B Lent 2 : 12/3/06 Mark 8:31-38
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and 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 things of God, but the things of men." 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his 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 him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
There is a Power Point presentation to use with this sermon/these headings. Mark 8:31-38
Charles Haddon Spurgeon. "There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross- bearers here below. "
3 headings, A True Messiah; A True Disciple; a True Reward.
A True Messiah.
H.G.Wells wrote, 'Christ is the most unique person in history. No man can write the history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher of Nazareth.' I wonder what our picture is of Jesus today ? How would we describe Jesus ? Jesus has asked his disciples: "... who do you say I am? Peter answered him: "You are the Messiah." (v. 29). This is a turning point in Mark's gospel, from now on the focus is on the Cross. For the first time Jesus now predicts that the Messiah ("the Son of Man", v. 31) must suffer, be rejected, killed, and rise again. This is part of God's plan which is why Jesus uses the word "must".
This went against the contemporary Jewish expectations of the Messiah. The Messiah was not expected to suffer but to be a
strong, powerful ,earthly King who would defeat the Romans and establish a prosperous Israel. So Peter rejects Jesus' teaching. Peter's impetuous action is consistent with his character elsewhere in the gospels.
Verse 33: "Get behind me, Satan!": Jesus tells Peter that he is under the influence of the devil: he is relying on human values, not godly ones. Jesus sees in Peter's words a continuation of Satan's temptation, something we looked at last week. Last week we saw how Jesus overcame Satan's temptations in the desert. Satan would continue to tempt Jesus to deflect him from the way to the cross.
We can be thankful that Jesus overcame temptation and went to the cross for us. We remember this with thanksgiving in this service. On the cross Jesus was rejected by God as well as by man. He took upon himself the separation from God that we deserve for our sins so that we can be free. Free to know and love God. Free to follow his ways.
If Jesus was not the True Messiah he would not have been raised from the dead by God.
A True Disciple.
What is life about?" That is the question behind verses 34-37.
Is life about pleasure, prestige, power, possessions, playing it safe, money, fitness, good looks, and/or an idyllic existence?
Jesus points out that there is more to life that all of these things. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Life is about living for God.
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
deny himself - we live in a world where pleasure is seen as the ultimate goal. Self-denial and sacrifice are at the opposite end of this scale.
take up his cross. You remember that our Lord was unable to do this because he was weakened by the scourging he received and Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus' cross. The condemned criminal was made to take his cross to the place of execution. This was a one way journey to death. Jesus was saying that we are to die to our old, sinful way of life where we put ourselves first.
follow me. Jesus calls people to follow his example and teaching. We do this by reading and knowing the Bible and by relying upon his Spirit.
What does this mean for us?
God first, others second, us last. It has to affect our whole life. Relationships; time; talents; possessions including money.
In some parts of world following Jesus guarantees persecution, loss of family, livelihood, even death.
Some people think that Christianity is a crutch for the weak. It is actually a cross for the weak. Jesus doesn't promise an easy life for those who follow him. Just as he was tempted, persecuted, despised and rejected so those who follow him will be treated in this way. But we can face these difficulties knowing that he has won the overall victory and that he will always be with us.
F.R.Maltby wrote, 'Jesus promised his disciples three things - that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble.'
A True Reward.
There is resurrection after death.
"31 ...the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again."
When we put to death our human nature God gives us His nature, His Holy Spirit. He brings new life, a new reason to live, a new power to live. He is a guarantee of what is to come. One day Jesus will return.
38 b the Son of Man will (be ashamed of him when he) comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Those who have died to their old way of life and received new life in Jesus will then be given new, perfect resurrection bodies. They will be with God forever to serve and praise Him forever.
We should not be ashamed to live for eternity. To follow God's ways and to confess that we are Christians. Someone once said 'No-one can go to heaven who has not already sent their heart there.'