Saturday, March 7, 2015

Jesus teaches that He must suffer and die

3.7.2015 Saturday of Lent 2             Mark 8:22-38 Jesus teaches that He must suffer and die
The Crucifixion

At Caesarea Phiippi Peter Confesses that Jesus is the Christ. This is a crucial point in Jesus’ ministry. Before Jesus goes on to Jerusalem to die, He must be certain that His disciples grasp who He is. He asks the disciples what people are saying about Him, but then He asks them who they think He is. Peter responds, ”You are the Christ.” Then Jesus explains that He must suffer, die and rise again.

This does not fit into Peter’s understanding of the Messiah. He rebukes Jesus for saying it, but Jesus in turn rebukes Peter as the mouthpiece of Satan. God wills for Jesus to suffer and die; not to go to the cross would be Satan’s wish. What He Himself must do, He followers also must do. Self-denial, cross-bearing, and following Christ. In this self-giving, His followers will find themselves.[2]

There is an ultimate sacrifice. The Father demanded this of His Son Jesus. To follow the perfect plan mapped out for His ministry Jesus must deny Himself, take up the cross and follow the Father’s will. The devil will try to deter Jesus from the cross. He offers Jesus the entire world if He would merely worship him. But Jesus cannot be detained. He will go to the cross and there offer His life for the life of the world.

The Christian faith confesses Jesus as the Christ. This too requires sacrifice. To deny self. Taking upon the cross and suffering, and then willingly following Jesus. The stakes are extremely high with respect to winners and looses. One can save his life and gain the whole world. Yet in the end we forfit our soul. But you can’t buy it back. What can you give in exchange for your soul? Instead we lose our life for Christ’s sake. In this we find our life and the reason for being here.

Grant, most merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen [3]

[1] Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
[2] Lectionary Preaching Workbook, Series B, John Brokhoff, pg. 262 © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
[3] Collect for Saturday of Lent 2,

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