To be the Messiah means suffering and death, and he summons his disciples to follow the same path Mark 8:31.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he explained exactly what it meant to be the Messiah of Israel, namely, suffering and death, an expectation contrary to popular expectations and those of his disciples. And he also summoned anyone who would become his disciple to take up the cross and follow his self-sacrificial example. And failure to do so would render one an object of shame before the Lord of Glory.

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According to Paul, men are not set right before God “from the works of the law,” but instead, “from the faith of Jesus Christ.

Having demonstrated that all men have sinned and violated the revealed will of God, both Jews and Gentiles alike, Paul concludes that no one can be set right before God “from the law.” Jews have the Mosaic Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their own conscience yet continue to live and even revel in sin.

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Following Jesus

Jesus admonished his disciples that if anyone wished to come after him, “let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” This was more than metaphorical or hyperbolic language. It was said at the very time he was on his final journey to Jerusalem where he would demonstrate to the world just what it meant to “deny oneself and take up the cross.”

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Christ crucified” is the pattern for discipleship, the test of its genuineness, and the Jesus that Christians are summoned to emulate.

In the New Testament, the death of Jesus on a Roman cross is the paradigm for discipleship, the benchmark against which Christian conduct is measured, and the criterion for identifying true disciples from unfaithful ones. Whether examining spirituality, wisdom, or the miraculous, Calvary is the line that separates the genuine from the counterfeit, and God cannot be known apart from the crucified Messiah.

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After Jesus healed the blind man, for a fleeting moment, the eyes of Peter were opened to “see” just who he was – Mark 8:27-38.

Jesus queried his disciples while he was “on the way” to Jerusalem: Who do men say that I am?  At least nine times Mark declares that Jesus is “on the way.” His march to Jerusalem and his inevitable death was in fulfillment of Joh’s proclamation from the words of Isaiah: “I send my messenger before your face who shall prepare your way.”

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