Andrew's Sermon Notes - February 2012

Carrying our cross: Mark 8:27-38

The second half of chapter 8 is the hinge on which the whole gospel turns.  In it, Jesus asks “who do people say that I am?”, tells of his suffering, death & resurrection, and calls the crowd to discipleship. After chapter 8 Jesus and his disciples move on towards Jerusalem and his Passion.

Note that Jesus is calling the crowd to follow, not just the small group of close followers we often call the disciples.  The call to discipleship is for everyone, and it is about following in the way of Jesus.  Often we speak of “carrying our cross” when we mean a burden, illness or other problem in life – actually here Jesus is speaking about the way of the cross, not our individual struggles.  The way of the cross is a way of self-giving love which does not count the cost.  It is a whole attitude.  How are our attitudes shaping us like Jesus?

It’s also about saving and losing something.  Jesus speaks about losing your life to save it – here meaning our existence, or the things we fill our lives with (possessions, security, comfort) – all of which may be placed in jeopardy if we are to find the way of Jesus.  The way of Jesus looks to the needs of others, tries to find what God is doing (parables of the Kingdom) as a priority. Our commitments and discoveries as we follow Christ might well put our own comfort and interests under threat (as the Covenant prayer puts it: Christ has many services to be done… some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interest, others are contrary to both.”  In the end, Jesus reminds us that nothing we can give, nothing that we have can buy our true life - something worth remembering in our culture which tends to put a price on most things. 

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