Journey to the cross (part 1)
Holy Trinity Huddersfield, 5th March 2017
An observation from memory.
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. Mark 8:31-35 NRSV
He got it so right, saying that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, and then got it so wrong.
After being declared as Messiah, Jesus started to say what being Messial meant. Certain death. This was not the kind of Messiah Peter was looking for, which was more like all the Jewosh heros rolled into one. A winner. Someone going to die was more like a loser.
There’s worse to come.
We must bear our own cross. Not in a “we all have our crossed to bear” sense, but in the sense that we are to give all that we haveto give to follow Jesus We should be prepared to leave home, family and sacrifice our reputation. Carrying your cross is humiliating, on the way to execution, with the jeers of the crowds in your ears. John Wesley at first resisted preaching in the open air as it would ruin his reputation, but his ministry took off once he took the Gospel al fresco.
Persecution is the norm for Christians, with thousands being matyred for their faith every year. Following Jesus can cost everything.
That is what I remember from this Sunday’s sermon, without having taken any notes. It could be that I need a better memory.