Immediately after Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the expected Messiah, Jesus begins to teach his disciples that he must suffer.
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. 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. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him (Mark 8.27-32 TNIV).
Understandably, it didn’t make sense to Peter, or the rest of the disciples for that matter (see Mark 9.30-32); in fact, Peter appears to be a bit upset. They were expecting a kick-ass Messiah. They thought he would deliver them from Roman oppression; getting killed didn’t seem like the right plan (Mark 10.32-34)! But Jesus’ deliverance would be different than expected.
Interwoven with these predictions of his death, Jesus taught his disciples that they too must take up their cross, laying down their lives for others. He also taught them lessons on servanthood Mark 8.27-10.45). He was teaching them, and us, a better way.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10.42-45).”
Our God, Jesus Christ, selflessly gave his own life for us on the cross.
Lord, today we gratefully mourn and celebrate your death on the cross. We praise you and thank you, Jesus. Amen.