Today we are reading from Mark 8: 31-38:
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
As I read this passage, I thought of the old hymn, the way of the cross leads home. We see Jesus talking about the cross that He is going to take up. This cross that He will take up will be the means of salvation for the world. His cross will bring freedom and grace for all who believe. He tells them that He must do this.
Peter then says, “no, Lord! You can’t!” Jesus rebukes Him because Peter is still thinking about power. Peter is thinking about earthly power and earthly kingdoms. That is what Peter had been trained to think about with the Messiah. Jesus says, no, you don’t get it. That’s not what I’m about.
But Jesus does something else. He tells Peter that it will not be just Jesus who must take up the cross. But it is Peter. It is all who follow Jesus. It’s me and it is you. It is all of us. The way of the cross is not just for Jesus, but it is for each of us. The way of the cross is our way.
We are called to die to ourselves. We are called to repent. To lay down our lives. To understand that our lives are not our own. We do not live for ourselves, we do not die for ourselves. We live and we die for Jesus. In Him, we live and move and have our being.
The way of the cross, it is the way of life. When we die to ourselves and to the world, we find the life that we can never find in ourselves or find the world.
The key to life is to die. When we lay ourselves aside, we find life. Today, may we walk the way of the cross.
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