30th September 2018 – Jesus’ personal presence makes cross-bearing both possible and desirable

September 27, 2018 Pastor Matt Bishop

Today we return to Mark 8:27-38 which we missed a few weeks ago when Pastor Mark filled in for me and preached on Matthew 18:15.  The Mark text comes at a critical juncture in Jesus’ life as he starts to lay out for his disciples what it all means.  Peter first confesses that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah.  Jesus then tells them he will die (and rise – but they don’t hear that).  Peter rebukes Jesus who in turn calls Peter ‘Satan’ for trying to get him off his path that must lead to the cross.  Jesus finishes with the reminder that whoever wants to be his disciple must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow him.  So Jesus’ is a way of suffering.  Yet it’s beyond description how much we feel his love and pull in our lives.  One of the best things I’ve read on this way of suffering – of the cross – is from F D Bruner (p152; Matthew Vol II, 2004) who notes that despite how unattractive cross-bearing is in human terms, Jesus’s personal presence makes it both possible and desirable.  We’ll look at all this a bit more today.