Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.” Mk 8:34-9:1
I can only imagine sitting there and being a disciple and hearing these words. Not so long ago, he had come to the sea and asked people to stop what they were doing and follow Him. Now, he is saying that you are going to lose your life because of Him, and there is a better life waiting when you do. How heavy those words must have been at that moment in time, not just for the disciples, but the ones in the crowd as well? How awesome and yet off-putting would these words have been?
I am glad that I am living in a time where I know that the Lord died for me. I would have had a hard time making the choice to stay and listen and believe, if I were, the same person I am today, living in that moment. I know this because life challenges and trials that I have gone through have given my mind a run for its money some days. It would have been tough for me to believe the person standing before me, and trying to understand what Jesus was trying to convey in this message.
Then I look at today, it is still hard to understand everything that is trying to be conveyed in this sermon. I find something new and inspiring, and sometimes I question the message, every single time I re-read this. Don’t misunderstand me, it is not a misunderstanding that Jesus is the answer, it is not a hesitation in my faith, it just makes me question and ponder. Even to this day, even if the words that are written here are not exact quotes, the power and mystery wrapped up in this still fascinates me. I can not give you a good answer as to why this particular passage has captivated me for years, but it has. So, I will continue to ponder this and mull it over, and it is on my list of things to ask when I finally get to where I am going…. why did you present it in this way and in that moment?