Category Archives: Cross

SUFFERING SON OF MAN

OVERVIEW – According to Mark, the Son of Man was revealed only in his sufferings and death on a Roman Cross – Mark 15:34-39

A theme threaded throughout the Gospel of Mark is the inability of men to recognize who Jesus is – The Son of God – until AFTER his crucifixion, and even then, paradoxically, he was declared “Son of God” by the unlikeliest person, the very Roman centurion who in charge of his execution. What made this Messiah unrecognizable was his self-identification as the suffering “Son of Man.”

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WHOSOEVER WILL FOLLOW ME

OVERVIEWJesus was the promised Messiah, but he fulfilled that role as the Suffering Servant on his way to die in Jerusalem. His disciple must likewise take up his cross and follow him – Mark 8:27-38.

On the “way to Jerusalem,” Jesus entered Caesarea Philippi and questioned his disciples about his identity – “Who do men say that I am?” Momentarily, Peter began to perceive and confess who and what he was – “You are the Messiah!”

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SERVANT OF YAHWEH

I will give him a portion among the great, because he poured out his soul unto death, and with transgressors let himself be numbered” – Isaiah 53:12

Unlike Adam, the “Servant of Yahweh” did not grasp at the “likeness of God.” Instead, he humbled himself and chose obedience, even when that meant his submission to a most shameful death. For this reason, God highly exalted him and installed him to reign over all things as “Lord.” Exaltation did not precede the death of Jesus – it followed it.

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POWER AND WISDOM OF GOD

The Power and Wisdom of God are revealed in Christ Crucified, not in great miraculous displays, political or economic might

Our nature orients us to assume that people will be drawn to Christian faith by miraculous displays, “signs and wonders.” Did not Jesus win the crowds with his healing miracles and exorcisms? In fact, despite his many miracles, most of his contemporaries failed to recognize him. Even after spectacularly calming a horrific storm by a brief verbal command, his closest disciples asked – “Who is this man?

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DRINK MY CUP

To follow Jesus “wherever he goes” means a life of self-denial and of self-sacrificial service to others.

When he dispatched his disciples to announce the “good news,” Jesus warned that they would find themselves as “sheep among wolves.” Hostile men would haul them before “councils and whip them in their synagogues.” Even “brother would deliver up brother to death,” and his disciples would be “hated by all men for his sake, but only he that endured to the end” would be saved.

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MEANING OF DISCIPLESHIP

To be his disciple means to pursue self-sacrificial service for others, and especially so to the weak and insignificant.

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explained to the disciples what it meant to be the Messiah, and not for the first time, for in the city of David, he would face his final confrontation with the Temple authorities and death at the hands of the Romans. Was not that city the appointed place where the prophets were killed, and the Messiah himself must suffer rejection and death?

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