Mark 8:27–38; Mark 9:30–34; Mark 10:32–40 (read online ⧉)
There were 3 ages that I looked to: 13, 18, 25. Prior to achieving each of these birthdays, I expected to die before each of them. That’s a pretty morbid thought, isn’t it? This wasn’t only my depression or suicidal thoughts that brought me there, but an almost fatalistic anticipation of my end.
I don’t know how much my friends during those times understood my thoughts or expectations. I wasn’t open to sharing it. They may (or not) have noticed an underlying darkness that was part of my existence. We (including me) can look back on these thoughts and think…oh, what drama! And it possibly was.
So, imagine what Jesus’ disciples thought? There were plenty of charismatic people leading people astray. Some seemed like death cults. Others pursued aims (overthrowing the Roman Empire) that were suicidal. Did they really mean to follow this guy? They were in deep already (hey, Peter declared him the Messiah, of all things). Were they sure about this?What made the difference between my fatalism of youth, and Jesus’ expectation and looking toward (not looking forward to) death? The end.
What was the end? For me, I don’t know that I thought about it. For Jesus? Glorifying God and salvation for everyone. While the end does make the dying easier, it does make it easier to walk toward.
In all three declarations of his expectations of death, there were very human responses within verses of the Scriptures. The first declaration resolves with each person who follows Christ having to bear the cross (a symbol of torture, humiliation, and death). The second declaration resolves with being a servant of others. The third declaration resolves with both the cross and service. Jesus resolved each declaration in a way that doesn’t necessarily encourage the hearer…unless the end is kept in mind.
1) Death is the end of this life. What is your view of death? How would you respond if a friend or family member told you they expected to die (not due to health or reasons of conflict)?
2) The cross has lost much of its horror. What can you think of in modern times that might approach the cruelty of the cross?
3) In the 3 times that Jesus spoke of his death, the world’s agenda was not the same as God’s agenda. There are plenty of horrors around us. How can we embrace those horrors and point to Jesus?