Sunday 28 February 2021

Bible Book:

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. 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. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?' (vs 34-37)

Mark 8:31-38 Sunday 28 February 2021

Psalm 22


Our text of today comes almost exactly at the end of the first half of Mark’s Gospel. In the first half, Jesus is portrayed as engaged in intense activity, he moves around repeatedly, performing multiple miracles appearing almost invincible. In the second half, Jesus moves more slowly, performs fewer miracles and is resolutely focused on the Cross. Indeed Mark makes it clear that Jesus can only be understood in light of the events of the Cross.

Today’s text follows almost immediately upon the very unusual story of the healing of a blind man in Mark 8.22-25. It’s unusual because every other case of healing in Mark is immediate. Indeed, that word is used repeatedly in the gospel. However in this case it requires two attempts by Jesus before the man is able to see properly. After the first attempt he gains vision, but it is distorted.  

This raises the tantalising possibility that we are meant to see Peter’s rebuke in this light. Peter has gained enough insight to see that Jesus is the Messiah but is either unable, or unwilling to see that the Messiah must suffer, be killed and rise again. Only in the light of the events of the Cross does Peter finally come to see this truth, that the path of discipleship is the way of the Cross.


To Ponder:

  • Jesus’ paradoxical claim that the path to life is to lose it, for his sake and for the sake of the gospel, invites us to reflect on the fact that there are some things more important than our lives, while at the same time suggesting that gaining the world but losing our life is a zero sum game.
  • What are some of the ways in which we today continue to set our minds not on divine but on human things?
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