“Christ crucified” is the pattern for, and the test of, genuine discipleship. THAT is the Christ believers are called 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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In Mark’s gospel, only at his death did a Roman centurion who was present at his execution recognize who Jesus was – Mark 10:45.
In Mark, all men prove incapable of recognizing who Jesus is, even his closest disciples. The only exceptions are John the Baptist and the Roman centurion at Golgotha, the very man in charge of the execution squad. Mark has threaded this theme throughout his gospel to make the point – The Messiah cannot be understood apart from his death on a Roman cross.
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OVERVIEW – No one recognized who Jesus was except the demons cast out by him. Only in his sacrificial death is his identity understood – Mark 4:41.
In his early ministry, the disciples witnessed Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, forgive sins, and, most spectacularly, calm a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee, and all with great authority. Yet rather than faith in the Son of God, these powerful miracles produced confusion, fear, and the question – Who is this man? Only at his execution did someone begin to understand.
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