Life and Death and New Life


S (Scripture): Mark 8:31 Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke openly about this. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But after turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”

34 Then Jesus called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. 36 For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life?

O (Observation): Here, Jesus makes the first of three predictions regarding his own death.  Each time he makes the prediction, he follows that up with a description of what the life of a disciple looks like.   Take up your cross and follow me.

Funny that Peter didn’t really listen to Jesus.  He (and we) often get stuck part way through Jesus’ prediction.  It’s like all Peter heard was (Mark 8:31 cut short, for emphasis):
Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed…

It’s like Peter didn’t hear these words that complete Mark 8:31:

and after three days rise again

A (Application): Lose my life? Really? Well, when you do, you will be given a new one – greater than you could ever imagine.  

But we, like Peter, get stuck on saving our own skin.  We like our lives, our money, our homes, our church, our homogenous settings we dwell in.   The cross challenges us in all of these categories.  

Simply moving forward with life as it always has been is the easy path for us to save ourselves.   But I think the message is that saving our lives mean we will lose them. 

Instead, I have been moved by the Spirit (as many of you have) to lose my life.  For what?  For the sake of the Gospel.  Now…don’t get me wrong, I have moments and seasons where I do not resist the Holy Spirit, and moments and seasons when I try to ignore the Holy Spirit completely.  I’m not innocent!

But I think we are wise take this struggle head on.   Allow the Spirit to shape us and mold us.  Allow the Spirit to help us see past the death, past the cross, to the new life promised by Christ.   

For life on the other side of the crosses we bear is powerful and amazing.  

We want to save our own skin.  I say, take my life, that I may be consecrated, Lord, to thee.   (Hey, that’s catchy…someone should put that in a song.)

P (Prayer): Lord, take my life.  Give me vision for what life looks like on the other side of the cross. Amen. 

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