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The Passionate Planned Priority of Christ–Dying For You
The Gospel of Mark 8:31 to 33
Do you find yourself forgetting things? There was this older couple who was sitting at home enjoying a quiet evening together, and the wife told her husband she wanted some ice cream. So he decided to get up and get it for her, and as he was going she said, “Now wait a minute. I would also like some ice cream with some whipping cream on top.” He said, “Okay,” and he started to head toward the kitchen.
She said, “Wait a minute. Don’t forget this–I want you to write it down.” He said, “I don’t need to write it down.” She said, “Okay, but just don’t forget, I want some ice cream with whipping cream, and also I would like some nuts on top.” He said, “Okay, I’ll go get that for you.”
She says, “You had better write that down or you’re going to forget it.” He says, “I don’t need to write it down–I won’t forget it.” Then he went and disappeared into the kitchen and came back fifteen minutes later with a plate of eggs. She said, “I told you to write this down. See–you forgot the bacon.”
There are times when I am glad I’m dressed and in my right mind. There are days Jean and I say, “Well, I’ve got my underwear on,” meaning, at least we have the essentials down. Ever feel that way? Yet gratefully, I find there are some priorities I never forget. I do not forget . . .
that I’m Christ’s, because He saved me at a great cost
that I love Jesus Christ, because He first loved me
that I have a home in heaven I’ve not been to yet, but can’t wait
that next to salvation, the most precious gift He gave me is Jean, then He blessed us with two great sons who love Christ, and now two wonderful daughters I love. And we’re thankful for the gift of a grandchild on the way in March.
These are precious priorities always on my mind . . .
I am passionate about preaching God’s Word.
I love God’s Word desperately, and love studying–determining the author’s intended meaning and preaching it to you so you can be fed.
I’m driven by the priority of men leading in the church and men leading their families, and the importance of training men in the Training Center, Men of the Word, and in our RMG’s.
I am thankful for qualified, functioning elders, and the joy of laboring together in a plurality of men who are godly men, and genuine trusted friends in Christ. I love our eldership.
I am so thankful for John and Beth Pleasnick and their kids, and the joy of serving Christ with them.
I never forget the blessing of being a part of this church family, and I never forgot the importance of a biblically healthy church, and constantly seek to cultivate spiritual health in our midst. I pray for you, think about you, meditate about what is best for you all the time–while driving, while laying in bed, and more.
To be honest, I am driven by these things–they consume me. They’re my priorities–they’re my high values I don’t forget. These things are always on my mind as the most important. They’re part of the grace-given engine God designed me to be. I know you have similar priorities on your mind. Your relationship with Christ, your family’s spiritual health, seeing Christ exalted in your life in all things, and so much more.
And what overwhelms me this morning is discovering what drove Jesus Christ–that top priority which was always on His mind. His mission and His passion were to die for us. Turn to Mark 8:31 to 33, and take your outline and follow along as the mission of the Messiah now comes out clearly, pointedly, and boldly exposing Christ’s passion He was driven to fulfill. This is His must.
And what cuts me to the core of my being today is remembering that His mission is all about me and you. His priority is for each one of His children here this morning. He was born to suffer and die for you and for me. He came to fulfill the will of the Father, which meant He came to accomplish our salvation, our redemption, our rescue from sins. His mission to suffer and die on the cross is coming in less than a year, and He is now preparing His men to face the reality of what the true Messiah must do in order to save us–His chosen, sinful, fallen, rebellious, ungrateful, hardened children.
Stand in honor of the Word of God, and read along silently as I read aloud from Mark 8:31, “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’”
Today we see the passionate, planned priority of Christ dying for us. Today is the Messiah’s mission to die on a cross for sinners. As Mark is immersed in the last year of Christ’s public ministry, our Lord has been expressing concern over His disciples. They’ve been blind and deaf concerning what’s most important–the person and coming passion of Christ. They didn’t see Christ as Creator in the feeding of the 4,000. Jesus even had a two-part miracle of a blind man, so He could point out to His men their partial blindness to the person of Christ.
He finally and clearly called them to ante-up, asking them directly, “Who do you say I am?” And they finally got it right in verse 29—“You are the Christ, the Messiah.” But in verse 30 He warned His men to tell no one about it, because the Jews were looking for a political Messiah who’d deliver them from slavery to Rome. But Christ came the first time to be a spiritual Messiah who would deliver them from the judgment and slavery of sin.
So now that they have the person correct, Christ will now clearly expose His passion. Now that they see Christ as the Messiah, they need to know His mission–the mission that Christ is driven to accomplish, the purpose that is always on His mind, the reason God became a man. So Christ begins to declare in 8:31 all the way through 10:52 His coming death for sin, as He now makes His way to Jerusalem and His great passion. The Lord begins in point number one with the first letter “I” . . .
#1 INSTRUCTION by Christ about the Cross Verses 31 to 32a
Having warned the disciples in verse 30, Jesus set about instructing them (verse 31), and in doing so taught them something which, in their wildest imaginations they had never dreamed—namely, Jesus Christ was to be a suffering Messiah.
First Christ and His death on the cross are inseparably linked” Verse 31a
“And He began to teach them.” Notice the “and”–the Greek word is not a “then”, but is a term which completely connects Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah to this description of His mission Jesus Christ was born to die. God became a man so He could die. This is clearly predicted in the Old Testament.
Speaking of the Messiah, Isaiah 53:5 and 6 say, “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
Then in the fullness of time, the New Testament declares in Galatians 4:4 and 5, “When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, …5 so that He might redeem God became a man so that He might go to the cross and redeem us from our sins.” Christ and His death on the cross are inseparably linked. Then Mark continues in verse 31 with . . .
Second Once you embrace His PERSON accurately, then you can comprehend His coming death for sin Verse 31b
“He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things.” You gotta know who you’re dealing with here. You have to know who Christ is to embrace His mission. Don’t be the mugger who tries to rob the off-duty police officer–that isn’t going to go well. Know who you’re dealing with. Once you know Christ is the Messiah, God come in the flesh (like Peter just confessed), then you can understand why He had to come.
God was born a man, adding humanity to His deity, becoming the perfect God man–why? So as God He could be a sacrifice for sin that would be perfect, and satisfy God Himself. And as perfect man, He could take your place as our substitute on the cross, dying not for His sins, but for our sins. God had to become a man so He could be the perfect sacrifice. Christ had to go to the cross to die as our substitute if we are to be saved.
Christ began to teach this connection between His person and His passion clearly. He starts here in verse 31 and kept at it until He finally arrives in Jerusalem where He will willingly offer His life for your sins and mine–for His chosen children. The Lord had hinted of His coming death before, but here He is direct. The Messiah has a mission, and the mission is to suffer and die for our sins.
The verb “began” refers to a fact where the Lord acts upon Himself in order to teach His men about the cross. Our Lord Jesus is being intentional and being intense. He wants His men to get why He has come. Jesus literally began teaching here–it’s an ongoing teaching, since this is a new focus as the Lord prepares His men for what’s ahead. At this same moment, Matthew’s gospel uses the phrase “from that time” to mark the beginning of this private ministry to the twelve. The Lord is prepping His men for his passion–why?
Third The death of Christ was and is a NECESSITY Verse 31c
“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things.” The “must” here is not a human effort, but a divine imperative and absolute necessity God designed. God has no back-up plan. This “must” came thundering out of eternity as non-optional–it was the essential, unalterable plan of God set in motion before the foundation of the world. “Must” is a verb in the Greek which is a continual, never-changing fact which literally means, “it is necessary.”
We already know it was necessary for Christ to go to the cross, because it was prophesied. Listen to Peter as the Church was born affirming the predetermined plan of God in Acts 2:22, “Jesus…23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” The cross was pre-determined–it was a necessary must.
We already know that Jesus had to be God, since only God Himself could be a perfect sacrifice acceptable to God. And we already know the Lord had to be man, since only a man could be a substitute for mankind in dying for our sin. Jesus had to go to the cross—get this friend. It is not enough to think nice thoughts about Jesus, or even acknowledge He is God who became a man. He must be embraced as the one who suffered and died on the cross for our sins to satisfy God’s righteousness and to be our substitute–then rise from the dead to validate salvation was accomplished and give you abundant life now and eternal life forever.
The God-man had to die for you. Your sin is so bad you must die and suffer torment in Hell. But if you have turned to Christ in repentance and faith–then Christ’s death can be your substitute when He died for your sins. Had Christ not died, you could not be saved and every person on this planet would spend eternity in Hell forever—period. But Christ did die, so that those He died for could be forgiven. It was necessary for Christ to die—“the Son of Man must suffer many things.”
But this was unbelievably difficult for the Lord’s men to comprehend–this was not in their thinking at all. Even the Lord’s reference to Himself here was confusing to them. Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things.” Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man more than any other designation. The title came from the book of Daniel. The name reflects His humanness and His incarnation as God becoming a man. With this title, He is fully identifying Himself with mankind as one of their own, and affirming He is the God-man whom the book of Daniel describes as one who is glorious, all-powerful, and will reign over an everlasting Kingdom.
But when Jesus says the “Son of Man must suffer,” the disciples do not understand. It even gets worse in verse 31.
Fourth The COST of salvation for you required suffering, rejection, death and resurrection Verse 31d
Mark continues in verse 31 using four infinitives to describe what He taught His men–four statements demonstrating what the Messiah will experience on His mission, four clues as to what Christ will have to go through in order to provide salvation, four images of the grueling torture facing the Lord we love, four verbs explaining His teaching about what He must do. Circle them in verse 31, “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must . . .
ONE “suffer many things and”
TWO “be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and”
THREE “be killed, and after three days”
FOUR “rise again.”
What a shock this must be for His men, who are expecting Christ to overthrow Rome and rule the world from Israel right now. They’re looking for deliverance from Rome, not from sin. But Jesus taught them that their Messiah must . . .
ONE “suffer many things and”
The gospel of Matthew adds that Jesus Himself declares that He will again go to Jerusalem, to the very capital itself, where the center of hostility against Him was found. The Jews don’t need to track Him down and arrest Him in some distant place. No, the Lord Himself will place Himself in their hands, as passive as a lamb.
And like all the other Passover lambs, Jerusalem will be the place of His sacrifice. There, Jesus says in Mark that He will “suffer many things,” which actually leaves a veil over all the details. Jesus knew what these “many things” were. The prophets had foretold them in all their terribleness, and the Lord Himself knew even more fully just what they included.
Just in Isaiah 53, God’s Word uses these words to describe the Lords suffering . . . “despised, forsaken, sorrows, acquainted with grief, we did not esteem, grief, stricken, smitten, afflicted, pierced through, crushed, chastening, scourging, oppressed, led to slaughter, oppression, judgment, death, crushed, put to grief, anguish, and bore the sin of many.” I’ve been meditating on something new in the last few weeks, and have no concrete biblical support for it, but it has caused me to reflect deeply on the suffering of Christ and my own sinfulness.
Have you ever considered, in the many ways Jesus was to suffer, that you see a reflection of the many sins He bore? That in the many different ways Christ was tortured is the result of the different kinds of sins we’ve committed? That His many-fold types of sufferings reflect the many-fold types of sins you and I have done against God? That Christ was pained in so many different ways even before the cross because our sins are so many and so different? That His distinct sufferings occurred because we’ve sinned in so many distinct ways? I think that may be true in some measure, and it’s caused me to hate my sin more, to love Christ more, and appreciate all the distinct suffering Jesus endured for me.
ONE ”JESUS suffer many things AND” Verse 31
TWO “be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes”
The Greek word “rejected” means to fail after submitting to a test. Inferior coins were carefully tested–then if spurious, rejected. The Lord tells His men that He will soon be subjected to an official examination, and like a spurious coin, be disapproved. Because in their minds, Jesus did not meet their standards for the Messiah–as a definite act the Sanhedrin, the highest judicial and religious authority of the nation will reject Him.
The Sanhedrin is made up of verse 31, elders, high priests and scribes. The elders were the old, experienced men of the nation who had served as judges in the local courts and, due to their prominence, had risen to membership in the highest court. The chief priests were members of the ruling high priest’s (Caiaphas’) family–and as Sadducees were highly influential. The scribes, mostly Pharisees, were the experts in the interpretation of the Old Testament, and of the rabbinical tradition. These three groups composing the Sanhedrin are made distinct by the definite article before each in the Greek, letting us know too that each group would equally share the guilt of condemning Christ. Had the Sanhedrin not persisted in its absolute rejection of Jesus Christ, Pilate would not have crucified Jesus.
THREE “and be killed,”
Jesus clearly foresaw His violent death. The time remaining was not made clear, nor was its mediatorial purpose described–but it was made clear to the Lord’s men that He was going to die soon. But the good news that they didn’t grasp was . . .
FOUR “and after three days rise again.”
I love the fact that the Greek term for “rise again” is “stand up.” You’re dead, then you stand up again—“I’m ba-a-a-ack!” The Lord’s resurrection is always included in His announcements of His coming death. But it was so incomprehensible to the disciples, it never registered with them at all. It was inexplicable to them. In the mind of first century writers, “after three days” and “on the third day” are identical. They could have banked on Jesus coming back to life on the third day, but like the rest of us they were too sinful to see and too presumptuous to perceive. So Mark tells us Jesus made this upcoming suffering and death totally clear to His men.
Fifth The plan of Christ’s death was made dogmatically CLEAR Verse 32a
“And He was stating the matter plainly.” Only Mark tells us Jesus was intentionally clear about His death. His instruction here was not a quick reference or a ide comment–no, the phrase, “He was stating,” is literally continually speaking . . . not just once, but ongoing talk about the coming cross. The Lord was repeatedly teaching them about his death here. Jesus was trying to impress this truth upon the minds of the disciples.
And the words “the matter” from “the matter plainly” refer to communication that is rational, reasonable and intellectually clear. And the word “plainly” from “the matter plainly” is translated in the New Testament as frankness and speaking boldly in a straightforward, honest manner. This noun “plainly” is freedom of speech and the liberty to speak out, using unambiguous language, not veiled allusions.
Jesus was very clear and direct in ver,se 32, “He was stating the matter plainly.” Why? One commentator said, “If Christ had allowed His death to come upon Him without a word of warning to His disciples, it would have shattered their faith completely.”
The instruction Jesus gives His men is rocking their world. Jesus teaches them the coming cross is necessary–it must happen. It was shocking in that the glorious, coming, reigning and ruling Son of Man must suffer and actually be killed. This instruction was revealing in that the shepherds of Israel, the Sanhedrin are going to kill their own Messiah. His teaching was kind and wise, since Jesus spared His men the gruesome details of His coming gory suffering and death. Yet His instruction was clear, with the Lord speaking to them clearly and plainly. But this exposes the . . .
#2 IGNORANCE of Peter about God’s PURPOSE Verse 32b
How did the disciples react to this gruesome news? Verse 32b, “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him”–that’s how. The disciples were appalled. The whole idea was abhorrent, plus it was inconsistent with the confession Jesus had just warmly embraced. So the twelve men listening to this clear instruction were horrified, but they all kept their silence. All except one—Peter. What the others wanted to say, Peter spoke–what the disciples wanted to do, Peter did.
Peter was offended by the cross–in a sense, he was saying, “No way are You, the Lord of glory, the Messiah of Israel going to suffer and die the death of a criminal.” Motivated by his affection for Jesus, Peter felt it was essential to pressure Him to eliminate these gloomy forebodings from His mind. So look at verse 32, “Peter took Him aside,” an aorist middle participle, telling us Peter “having taken Him to himself,” picturing Peter confidently drawing Jesus aside in order to correct Him.
“Took aside,” maybe picturing big Peter, putting His arm around Jesus, (you’ve seen that, or maybe had it done to you). “Come here, Jesus,” with an air of superiority, “I’m gonna fix Your faulty plan, Lord!” Peter is full of himself here–he was just affirmed by Christ for his confession. Remember Matthew 16:17 and 18, “’Blessed are you, Simon … because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.’” Wow!
Peter’s head just blew up with pride, so he’ll try to correct Christ–but he’s also motivated by love to protect his Friend and Lord. So Peter asserts his authority as the first among the twelve, and possibly with his arm around Christ Peter says with a stage whisper, “Jesus, you’re the Messiah, you can’t suffer and die. You’ve got to stop this line of thinking or you’ll lose all your credibility. Lord you need to stop saying that! Lord–you have it wrong!” Don’t ever say that to Jesus Christ–Jesus never has it wrong.
Peter pulls his Master aside and begins to rebuke Him. The word “rebuke” is powerful–it is also translated “censure”. Peter tried to shut Jesus up. For the twelve, the very idea of Messiah-ship excluded suffering and execution. So Peter tries to force Jesus to stop talking about the coming cross. According to Matthew, Peter said for the twelve in Matthew 16:22b, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”
Of course Peter should have known better. Had Peter never read Isaiah 53? Didn’t he remember John the Baptist describing Jesus as “the Lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world”? Too many of your family and friends want Jesus as a great example to follow, but they reject the reality that He can’t be followed unless He is first our Lord and Savior, who by His voluntary, sacrificial, substitutionary death saves His people from their sin, transforms them and empowers them to follow Him in this life, then brings them to glory in the next life. This is why Jesus responds with such . . .
#3 INTENSITY of Christ to go to the CROSS for you Verse 33
Read verse 33, “But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’” Now it’s the Savior who’s repulsed. As He spun 180 degrees to face Peter, and saw that the other disciples were approving of what Peter was saying–so the Lord comes out from under Peter’s arm, spins around, and . . .
First The Lord PERCEIVES their errant thinking Verse 33a
“But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter.” Peter called Jesus over to give Him a hushed private rebuke, but Jesus quickly wheeled around on Peter. The gospel of Mark alone tells us in doing so the other disciples were in plain view. The accepted assumption here is the Lord knew that all the disciples were thinking the same thing because the Lord speaks to all His disciples in the next verse, verse 34. Peter gets hit here, but . . .
Second The Lord REBUKES Peter on behalf of the disciples Verse 33b
“But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter.” Jesus rebukes Peter in the full presence of the whole group. Peter no doubt felt it was his duty as the leader of the twelve to silence his Master for His pessimistic death wish. It’s most probable the others shared Peter’s views and were watching the effect of Peter’s daring rebuke of Jesus. The result was, Jesus rebukes Peter. Mark uses the same word that Peter used on Christ–to silence, to censure, to shut up. Quite literally, the Lord says, “Peter, I disapprove of your comment.” Why?
Third The Lord exposes the SOURCE of Peter’s errant thinking Verse 33c
“But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan.’” These are the harshest words Jesus ever spoke to a devoted, well-meaning heart—“Get behind me, Satan.” Evidently Peter was acting as a tool of Satan. How utterly shocking–Peter had become a mouthpiece for Satan. One commentator observed, Peter “could hardly have understood that by his attempt to dissuade Jesus from the cross, he was placing arrows in the bow of Satan, to be shot at his beloved Savior.”
The same apostle who had just confessed Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God in verse 29, now contradicts Him in verse 32. The one whom the Father had just inspired to give an amazing confession as to the identity of Christ as the Messiah, was now “inspired” by Satan to try to stop the mission of the Messiah. John MacArthur states that Satan put into Peter’s mind the same idea he had tried to put into Jesus–God’s plan is too difficult and demanding. Give Your allegiance to me and Your life will be immeasurably better. My way (Satan’s way–man’s way) is superior to God’s.
That is basically what Peter was saying to Jesus–“My way is better than Yours or the Father’s.” Pride alert–wow, how scary is that, to be the mouthpiece of Satan! Yet if such a thing can happen to Peter, it can happen to any believer. The same Christian who extols the plan of God can be lured into extolling the plan of Satan. When you follow your ideas over God’s Word, even when you try to do God’s work your way, the same person who has strongly taken the side of God can find themselves unwittingly taking the side of Satan.
Before Peter realized what he was doing, he found himself speaking for Satan rather than for God. In trying to defend Christ in his own understanding, he found himself standing against Christ. How did it happen?
Fourth The Lord CLARIFIES the root issue of the error made Verse 33d
“But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’” Stop what you are doing Peter–at this point “you are” (continually, present tense–ongoing action) “setting your mind” on your ideas over God’s Word. “Setting your mind” is describing your pattern of thinking–your own ideas or your beliefs that set your behavior. Stop elevating your thoughts, emotions, ideas, experiences, past programs, processes and accepted norms over God’s Word.
Jesus says, “You have lost perspective, Peter. I must go to the cross to accomplish salvation. Your thinking is just like Satan’s temptation in the wilderness when he tempted me to rule the world without going to the cross. You’re thinking on a human level, not a divine level. You are elevating your thinking over God’s truth.”
Again, John MacArthur says, “When believers focus on their present pain or potential distress rather than on the Lord who has allowed that pain, they are easy prey for Satan’s traps and can even become his traps for ensnaring others.” Whenever we elevate ourselves, our thinking, our emotions, our fears, our ideas, our plans above God’s Word, we will mess up. Even though you and I are sometimes right, but often wrong, God’s Word is never wrong and always right.
1 Are you THANKFUL for what Christ did for you?
Aren’t you GLAD Christ was passionate about dying for you?
Are you not THANKFUL nothing kept Christ from the cross?
Are you REJOICING that Jesus died for the sins of His children?
Are you ECSTATIC the Lord rose from the dead and lives to give His children abundant life now and eternal life forever?
2 Are you a genuine CHRISTIAN?
Friends, just confessing Christ as Messiah, as God in a bod is not enough. Peter’s confession of Christ as Messiah demands the crucifixion on a rugged cross. Confession of the person is not enough–you must embrace His passion that God died for your sins. Christ alone satisfied God, and Christ alone is your substitute. Soul-saving salvation could only come through a suffering Messiah. Christ gave up His life, and calls you to give your life to Him. Have you? Are you truly His child? Have you turned to Christ in dependent faith, and turned away from sin to follow Him in repentance?
3 Are you losing the battle with PRIDE?
Do you trust your ideas, your emotions, your thoughts, other people’s ideas, your spouse, your parents, your kids, your boss, the TV, Fox news, some blogger, church programs, past experiences, any author over God’s Word? Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” The only certainty in this life is God’s Word, the Bible. That’s why you need it, read it, learn it, study it–it alone will keep you dependent and humble, and put to death your pride.
4 Are you sometimes DOWNCAST?
One of the best cures for difficulty with your emotions is to recall the infinite love of Christ, the massive and multicolored way He suffered then died for your sins. He did all that for you, then rose from the dead to give you new life. Allow His love to be the well you draw from to quench the thirst of your down days.
5 Are you OVERWHELMED with the plan of God for Christ and you?
Why were the disciples rejecting Jesus as a suffering Messiah? Because the idea was completely out of sync with human reasoning. Who would ever design a method of saving the world that would include disaster, despair, and death? No one! That’s why Israel misinterpreted its own Scriptures, which told of the coming suffering Messiah. Natural reason says a Savior must come with position and power! But Jesus said, if you think that way, verse 33, you are not setting your mind on God’s interests but man’s.
If we’re to confess Christ, we must embrace a suffering Messiah, a God, and a plan no one would ever have thought of but God. But embracing a suffering Savior and loving Him may come easier now, this side of the Cross, after His death and resurrection, but there is something more that is required. We must embrace His example as a model for us to follow, and that’s not so easy. To die to ourselves, to live for His purposes–to show Him off at work, at school, and at home in our marriages and families, even in our hanging out with friends is not easy.
But do not despair–He’s forgiven all your sin. He has given you a new heart that desires His will. And He has given you His Spirit to empower His will. And He has given you His Word to show you His will. So let’s be in awe of His passions and His plan. And let’s worship Him with our dependent obedience and serve Him with all our hearts–amen? Let’s pray.