Mark 8: 31 – 38
Jesus called the disciples to follow him. They left their homes and their work and went around the country with Jesus. It was a wonderful time of miracles and crowds following him. Life was a great adventure. When they were sitting around a campfire one evening Jesus asked them if they knew who he really was. After a while Peter said, ‘We know that you are the Anointed One of God. You are the Christ.’ Peter was very excited about this because he believed Jesus was very popular and powerful.
But Jesus warned them of the troubles that lay ahead. He told them the elders, the chief priests and scribes would reject him and that he would be killed. Jesus did not want to be killed but he knew if he did God’s work he would face opposition. He knew that evil is always against goodness. Peter would not believe that Jesus was about to be killed, He took Jesus aside and told him it could happen.
Peter was trying to persuade Jesus to run away or hide or go somewhere else. Peter did this because he loved Jesus. Jesus saw that Satan was using Peter’s love to tempt him. He spoke very strongly to his friend and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human. We have to be careful that our friends do not lead us astray from what God wants us to do. Sometimes they cannot understand that we need to be willing to give up all we have to follow our Lord.
Jesus did not promise that following him would be easy. He said there would be times when we would have to deny even our own desires. If we are following the crucified one, we too have to take up our cross, Jesus knew that some things are lost by being kept to ourselves.
We lose the ability to play the piano or to do well at sport if we do not practice. Practice means denying ourselves the time to go out whenever we feel like it. To follow Jesus means discipline. There can be no discipling without discipline.
Do we understand that Jesus did not promise us safety, comfort or well being, but that he did promise us his presence at all times?
(Resource: Searchlights Common Worship Year B.)
Thank you to Revd Peta May for this week’s Sunday School lesson.