Sunday 01 March 2015

Bible Book:

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (v. 34)

Mark 8:31-38 Sunday 1 March 2015

Psalm: Psalm 22


Today is the festival of St David, the patron saint of Wales,and given the importance of St David and his companions inspreading the Christian faith across Wales, it is highlyappropriate that today's Gospel reading focuses on the call todiscipleship.

Our passage follows on from Peter's confession of faith atCaesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27-30). Jesus has asked his disciples,"Who do people say that I am?" to which they variously reply, Johnthe Baptist or Elijah or one of the prophets. Then Jesus asks, "Butwho do you say that I am?" and Peter answers, "You are the Messiah"or (in Greek) "the Christ".

This episode is a turning point in Mark's account of Jesus'ministry. Previously Jesus had been attracting great crowds, drawnby his powerful preaching and miraculous healings. From now on,Jesus sets his face towards Jerusalem, the place of danger anddeath, and his ministry will increasingly face criticism andhostility.

One reason for this lies in the misunderstanding about what itmeans to be God's 'anointed one' or 'Messiah'. From today's passageit is evident that Peter too, despite his confession of faith, alsoshares in the confusion. Like others, he may have hoped for amighty warrior king like David to usher in a new kingdom of peaceand prosperity.

Instead, Jesus tells his disciples that he must face suffering,rejection and death at the hands of the religious authorities(verse 31). This is not what Peter was expecting and he tries totake Jesus aside. But Jesus rebukes him with those famous words,"Get behind me, Satan!" (v. 33). What's more, he goes on to saythat the same suffering which awaits him, must also be faced bythose who follow him; they too must be willing to take up theircross and to face the same death that he faces, if they wish toshare with him in his glory (verses 34-38).

This is the first prediction Jesus makes of his death in Mark;it's also a pointer to the persecution that will soon face hisfollowers (recounted in the Acts of the Apostles.) Yet from thisshared suffering arises a conviction of faith and confidence in therisen presence of Christ that will sustain his Church across thegenerations to come.

To Ponder

  • How comfortable are you with Jesus' challenge about the cost ofdiscipleship?
  • Are you too tempted like Peter to re-cast Jesus in a mould ofyour own making? What might be the reason behind this? And whatmight you do about this?
  • What may be the cross that Christ is calling you to take uptoday, as part of your call to follow him?


Previous Page Saturday 14 March 2015
Next Page Monday 02 March 2015