LENTEN MEDITATION ON MARK 8:27-9:1 - WRITTEN BY RENEE BAUER, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
Mark 8:27-9:1Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.Jesus Predicts His Death31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”The Way of the Cross34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
9 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.
Jesus asks His disciples who they say He is, and Peter correctly responds that Jesus is the Messiah. However, this moment of triumph is short-lived. When Jesus tells Peter that He will suffer, be killed, and rise on the third day, Peter rebukes Jesus. When Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, Peter had images of victory in his mind and Jesus’ description of His impending death sounded like certain defeat. Peter would not allow Jesus to ruin his expectations of Jesus’ coming triumph with prophecies of His impending death. Jesus’ response seems unnecessarily harsh to most modern ears. Why didn’t Jesus simply take Peter aside and explain that he was mistaken? Why call him Satan?
Jesus knew the seriousness of Peter’s misunderstanding. If Jesus did not submit to the Father’s plan by willingly laying down His life, He would not be able to accomplish the purpose for which He was sent. Jesus’ death and resurrection were not incidental parts of His ministry. They were the aspects of His ministry through which God accomplished our salvation. They are the parts of Jesus’ life on earth that give all other aspects of His life meaning and eternal significance.
Lord, you make it clear that self- denial an taking up a cross are necessary acts for us to follow after you. We know that to gain our lives, we must lose them. This is the only path to follow so that we might experience that which is truly life. Amen.
Renee Bauer, along with her husband Steve, has been a member of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City for about 9 years. She is a Senior Vice President and Actuary for American Fidelity where she has worked for 31 years. She and Steve have a daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, Angela, Tyler and Sutton Davis, who also attend St. Augustine's, and a son, Bryan, who lives in New York. Renee enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, spending time with Steve and playing with their dog, Stella.
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