Last week here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we were looking at an account where Jesus ministered to a man who had been born blind. Our sermon from the day “Touched by God” can be found here. This week, we'll be considering how one of the consistent ways that the New Testament speaks of Jesus is to describe Him as the “Messiah.” This was a loaded term, filled with expectation.
In Mark 8:27-38 the expectations that the disciples have for Jesus, as the Messiah, appear very different to those that Jesus lays before them. They seem to be expecting somebody to take away all their woes and bring them to some significant position of worldly prestige. Instead Jesus proclaims; "The Messiah must go through great suffering. Even the elders and religious authorities will reject Him. He will be killed and in three days rise again."
In an age where there are a host of T.V preachers who proclaim a gospel of personal prosperity and blessing, the idea that the Kingdom may involve something more than making a donation and receiving a blessing, certainly needs re-iterating. We easily forget that most of the first disciples followed the example of Jesus and became martyrs for the cause they believed in.
That there are benefits... real benefits... from embracing the message of the Kingdom is true, but those blessings are not in terms that can be measured from the standpoint of the values of this world. I suspect that is always the case when love comes into the picture. People will do unexpected things for the cause of love, and the love of God seems no exception to that rule.
Time after time Jesus goes beyond our expectations, throws us a curved ball and everything becomes pear shaped! Things do not become easier when He lays down the requirements for true discipleship.
Take a moment to think on each of these invitations Jesus offers. Maybe we could prayerfully seek for God to show us how these verses apply to our own situation.
"If any want to be my followers let them take up their cross and follow me." "Lord, what does taking up a Cross look like for me in my life, right now? What are the things I need to do today that will enable me more faithfully to follow You?"
"For those who seek to save their life will lose it, yet those who lose their life for me and the Gospel will save it." "Lord… help me discern the things I need to let go of in order for Your love to truly be in charge!"
"For what do you gain if you gain the whole world and lose your life?" “Lord… teach me to place greater value on the things that outlast this life, rather than be consumed by the passing things of the moment.”
For some music the Maranatha Singers offer us "The Servant Song”
The Reverend Adrian J Pratt B.D.