Following Jesus

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Mark 8:22-38

“But who do you say that I am?” (v. 29)

Peter identifies Jesus correctly, but he has no idea what he has just said. Jesus is the Messiah, but not the sort Peter thinks. Peter was as blind as the blind man from Bethsaida (v. 22). So Jesus teaches his disciples that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, be rejected by the religious authorities, be killed, and after three days rise from the dead. Peter objects: this most definitely was not what the Messiah would do. A
dead Messiah was a false Messiah. Everyone knew that.

Jesus then sternly rebukes Peter by calling him “the Satan” or “the Adversary.” Even
Peter was capable of not viewing things from God’s point of view – of opposing the
coming of God’s kingdom because it didn’t look like what he expected or wanted. But Jesus
completely redefines their expectations: saving one’s life means losing it for the gospel, and following Jesus involves denying oneself for the sake of God’s purposes.

Things aren’t any different today. We still justify our own selfish ambitions by saying
they are God’s will. We still don’t see things from God’s point of view. The only way to
do that is to follow Jesus – Mark’s simple definition of what it means to be a
Christian. Simple to say, but oh so hard to do.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help us to lose our own lives for the sake of your gospel.