Reflection on Mark 8:27-38, Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 12, 2021

The Gospel of Mark 8:27-38

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Let us Pray:

 Loving God, we thank You for Your constant guidance in our lives and for all the ways You encourage, challenge, strengthen and renew us. We thank You that we still hear Your quiet words whispering to us in the silence of our own hearts. We thank You that through song, prayer, preaching, worship mission and service, we are still able to hear Your voice. Through fellowship and community, we can feel Your presence in what we do and say. This we pray in your Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit Amen.

Who do you say Jesus is and how does he impact your life? We know the whole story, But do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe in the whole story? If it was difficult for those who lived in the time of Jesus had a hard time believing even tnough they could see and observe the miracles he performed and listen to His teachings. It helps us somewhat understand now that there are many who don’t believe. Peter knew and understood when he responds, “You are the Messiah” So as Peter understood can we accept that he is the true Messiah? When we acknowledge Jesus is the true Messiah, we will find the strength to rejoice in our belonging to him instead of being ashamed and uncertain. Like the martyrs of every age, we will boldly bear witness to the Lord in word, deed, and example, and he will joyfully welcome us home when his glory is revealed. It is not enough, from Christ’s perspective, for his Lordship to be something abstract or distant. Many of today’s leaders are satisfied with a superficial allegiance, as long as they get our vote, they won’t bother themselves with coming into our personal space. Christ’s Kingdom doesn’t work that way. To be a Christian by name only does not suffice. It is not enough to know what other people say about Jesus; we each need to encounter and respond to him personally. Only then, when in our hearts we have accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior, the one anointed by God to come and establish the everlasting Kingdom; only then will we be ready to hear him explain to our hearts the mysteries of his loving plan of redemption. Still some people reject God because he hasn’t eliminated human suffering, though the same critics rarely consider how much suffering God does indeed prevent, suffering we don’t know about, because it never happens. But if God, through the Incarnation, Passion, death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, has chosen to give meaning to suffering instead of doing away with it, do we really have a right to complain? So much human suffering springs from our own, free and selfish choices. Many of those choices we see today when people refuse to protect each other by doing the right thing. To eliminate it, God would have to eliminate our freedom. But if we were not free to reject him, we would not be free to accept him, and he values our friendship too much to turn us into mere subservient peoples. When it comes to getting to God, many people believe there are also many ways to Him. The broad way is through a simple fact of good intentions. As long as we are good people, by our own definition, then God should understand and allow us to Him. The harder way is to be a follower of Jesus, a disciple, to walk His path, His way.

Let us Pray: Through suffering and rejection, O God, you bring forth our salvation, for in Jesus you embrace our humanity and transform our lives by the glory of his cross. Grant that for the sake of the gospel we may rebuke the lure of this world, take up our cross, and follow your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

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