Wednesday, February 21
Scripture: Mark 8:31-38
Too many times in the gospels, the disciples are only looking at the most obvious effects of Jesus’ ministry. They don’t want to upset the existing religious order and yet they seem to think that Jesus will walk right into power as the Messiah. Part of the confusion goes back to differing Messianic messages in the Old Testament. The Hebrew people are awaiting a Messiah of Power and Might to overthrow the domination of their oppressors. The current power centers are the Roman Empire and their puppet Hebrew government.
Jesus is doing more than teaching and healing, he is undermining the existing order without claiming to be the next Hebrew King. He is fulfilling the words of the prophets who revealed a Suffering Servant who reveals God’s word for another Kingdom. He rebukes the disciples who still haven’t grasped the enormity of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. The Suffering Servant must be rejected in order to fulfill the Word of the prophets. In this version the Messiah does not lead the Hebrew nation to dominate the world. Instead he must suffer and die and his followers must be willing to preach and heal the people, knowing they too might suffer as the Son of God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to understand your intentions for our lives. We too often expect to be rewarded for success and to be admired for our deeds. It is our need to follow your example and be a light to the world that makes us Followers of Christ. Change our hearts so that we may be instruments to your purpose. The world is full of accomplishment and loss. Help us discern the difference so that others may see God through our actions.
– Barbara Boward