Day 20 of 21

The penultimate day! As we close in on the last day let me ask what your plans are to continue? Reading the lectionary passages is one way to stay in scripture. If you read about 3 chapters per day you would have the Bible read in a year. Maybe that is the next step? There are also some great resources / devotionals which will send you something each morning. I’ll try to gather a few resources to share tomorrow on our last day of the 21 day challenge.

Mark 8:27–38 (NRSV)

27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

31 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. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 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.”

34 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. 35 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. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Reflection

The first person to rightly identify Jesus in Mark’s gospel was an unclean spirit. Yep. A demon called Jesus “the Holy One of God” in Mark 1:24. It took seven more chapters before the apostles declared the same. And as soon as Peter makes this declaration the next paragraph shows a swift fall as Jesus tells Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Wow, that’ll make your head spin. Jesus then speaks the words of truth that challenge everyone when he says that his followers must “deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” The life of faith is not about comfort, or privilege, or the guarantee of success. The life of faith is about following Christ into denial, sacrifice, and humility. That may not preach well in today’s world…but it will assure you entrance into the next.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, may your presence be my assurance; your way my goal; and your example my template. Keep me from buying into the world’s pattern of living which leads me away from you.

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