In the gospel of Mark, Israel’s Messiah, the Son of Man, is revealed in his death on a Roman Cross.

In Mark, men and women are unable to recognize Jesus as the Messiah until AFTER his crucifixion, and paradoxically, following his death, he is declared the “Son of God” by the unlikeliest person, the Roman centurion on duty at his execution. And in this gospel account, his self-identification as the sufferingSon of Man” caused many to misunderstand and even reject him.

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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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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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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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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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