In the previous two posts, we’ve been looking into Mark chapter 8 where Jesus clarifies who He is, who He is NOT, and why this clarification matters. At the end of Mark chapter 8, Jesus translates this – His true identity and fate as Messiah – into OUR true identity and fate as His followers (disciples).
31 Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning and looking at His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” 34 He called the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for My sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. -Mark 8:31-35
Here, Jesus enlarges the crowd, to speak more truth to more people, and to further solidify His own commitment to God’s call. “No,” Jesus says, “No. This is the role of the Messiah, and furthermore, this is the role of anyone who wants to follow the Messiah and be His disciple.”
Here Jesus turns the tables on Peter. Jesus looks at Peter and says, “not only are you wrong about the Messiah in thinking that He should not suffer and die, but you’re also wrong if you’re thinking the Messiah’s followers will not also experience suffering and death. You’re a part of this, too, Peter – you and everyone else here listening who really wants to follow Me.”
36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” -Mark 8:36-38
This is what it means to truly follow Jesus – to be His disciple.
Who do you say that Jesus is? What might your answer to that question really mean for your own life if you choose to truly follow Him?
Make your faith your own. Don’t settle for someone else’s faith in Jesus. Make your relationship with the Savior your own. Don’t settle for merely relating to Jesus vicariously through someone else.
Here, in this moment, Jesus is not concerned with what others say about Him. He’s not interested in what your pastor thinks, or your parents think, or how TV or movies portray Him, or what your friends think, or what the latest greatest author or speaker says about Him. He wants to know, “who do YOU say that I am?”
PRAYER: Right now, Jesus, we invite you to show us Who you really are. Please, open our eyes so that we can see You. May Your Holy Spirit work within us to gives us eyes to see You, ears to hear You, hearts to trust You, and wills to obey You. We ask You for courage to follow You – even unto death. We pray in Your Name, and by the power of Your Spirit. Amen.