A Servant King’s Disciple – Mark 8:31-38
Bible passage reading, robin, me , prayer
To be a disciple of Christ we must Abandon ourselves and unashamedly represent the Gospel.
Secular (illustration )
Bible (the text)
- Be a disciple of Christ by losing your life for the gospel, instead of keeping your life for yourself. V.31-35
The entire gospel of mark is putting on display who Jesus is. His different characteristics, his divine nature, his Human nature. And up until this point we see that Jesus is a healer, doing miracle after miracle after miracle. And then we see Him as a wise teacher, using parables to confuse the heck out of the people around them, yet reveal a deep, deep truth about Him, and His fathers plan . On top of that, we saw Him walk on water, stuff normal people don’t do, being glimpses of God. And it all builds up to this chapter. We can calli the big reveal. Jesus, coming off of healing a Blind man, using that to illustrate the fact the discples don’t see him for who he is yet, as Pastor Robin went over last week, to this passage.
Lets look at vs 31. Jesus, begins to teach the discples, along with peter, never gets it peter, that Him, the son of man, must suffer, be rejected, and killed. And after 3 days will rise again. And as it says in verse 32, he said this all plainly. Meaning it was straight forward. No confusing parables or metaphors. He said it He’s gonna endure terrible things and die and rise. This is the first time, at least in the book of Mark, where Jesus reveals what he is really here to do.
And bless peter man but he does what peter does. He comes forward in his ignorance and……rebukes Jesus. REBUKES JESUS! Now, peter has and will do some dumb things, but this is crazy. I don’t know how many of you have ever been rebuked but it isn’t a pleasant conversation. Rebuke, specifically, is in truth with some grace, confronting and correcting someone who is in the wrong, in sin. Jesus, fully God and fully man being perfect, rebuked by peter. But why? Cause Peter was keeping his life for himself. You see peter had a different, skewed, of what the messiah was going to be like. I mean if we read some of the old testament prophesies, it may seem like the messiah was some sort of powerful ruler. Ready to take the world. Isaiah 6:9 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders…. And other verses like that could make jesus to be a military force. On who would come and conquer and take back what is his. And as we look at it now its kind of true But for peter, it seemed that Jesus was more of a..(show pic) Rambo. Out to get his. When in reality Jesus’ is death is the most important, most history changing event for every human being, including peter. Peter was more concerned with keeping his view of the messiah intact rather than loosing it for something greater.
So what did Jesus do? He saw his other disciples in sort of a passive agreement to what peter was saying, and Jesus Rebuked him back. But look at the language Jesus uses. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. I’ll be honest church when I first read what Jesus said to peter I cringed. It made me feel really weird and uncomfortable inside. I mean Jesus calling someone really close to him satan seems kind of messed up right? I mean I know its peter, who always messes up and says/does dumb things non stop, but there is grace right? Can someone be called satan and come back from that? Why? Well what was peter really trying to rebuke Jesus from. His calling. His purpose. Things that, according to the passage itself, are things of God and not man God sent Jesus for that purpose. And peter was trying to convince him otherwise. Trying to convince Jesus to keep his life for himself and not loose it for something else.
There was another instance where this happened. Someone else who tried to convince Jesus to Keep his life and not loose it for something greater. Satan. Its no coincidence that Jesus called peter satan. Matthew 4 Jesus was tempted by satan in various instances in the desert to keep his life and comfort in that moment to serve himself, or to lose it for the higher calling. Satan tried over and over again to deviate our Servant King from what he was there to do. Tempting him to feed himself while he was fasting, Asking Jesus to bow down before him in exchange for the world. And every time Jesus stood His ground, denying to keep His life, but loose it for our sake, for the father’s glory.
That what Peter, in that instance was doing. He wanted Jesus to keep His life. Not to suffer, not to die. In turn fitting what Peter wanted Jesus to be. That why Jesus began to teach immediately after rebuking the disciples that one must take up the cross and deny himself. Choosing to loose yourself to the real gospel, a Savior, a servant king who goes against the grain and norm and empowers us to do the same. To abandon what we think this walk looks like and to embrace what it really is. To lose our life truly for the gospel, and not save it for ourselves.
I’ve been on staff with Cru for one whole year and God has really taught me a lot of hard things. Especially the status of my heart. WE are always struggling to lose ours own lives for the sake of the gospel instead of keeping it for ourselves. And while on staff we have to make decisions in order to reach college students daily. One decision we made in the beginning of last year, and this year. Cru has various consistent events to reach the campus, one of them being is our large group which reaches the most students out of anything we have. The campus of NIU is known for having they’re “weekly going out day” on Thursday, thus dubbed thirsty Thursdays. As a staff team we’ve decided to place our large group on the day where everyone goes out. Pretty counter intuitive. The reason we don’t want to hide the face that we are the thing that fills that void that “thirsty Thursday” doesn’t fill. The acceptance, the community, the love, the recongnition, whatever. None of it gets filled apart from the gospel. And we wanted to act in faith in that truth in a tangible way. A huge risk, especially in a campus like ours where people honestly don’t care and are very apathetic towards spiritual things, let alone the gospel. But God has used that to be a platform for His gospel. Bringing people into our large group, people from all walks of life, to hear of Jesus and what he offeres. Week in and week out. Student leaders, who usually have class the next day, coming to set up late night and tear down all for the sake of getting people to hear this life changing news. Losing their life, through time, convinence, sleep, and whatever else for the gospel, and not keeping it for something else.
Church, God has been doing work here in terms of this. Right? I mean think about it. Nearly everyone here doesn’t live in this town. Right? Most of us need to hop on an expressway for 15 plus miles to get here. And I don’t know much about parenting, but I do have google, and its seems hard. Getting kids up getting them ready, coming to a church service that is at lunch time, staying late, not having much of a Sunday left after church is over. Guys there are examples of Living hope loosing their life for the gospel and not keeping it for themselves.
But, brothers and sisters we want to be a church on a mission. Being a disciple of our Servant King is being a servant. Embracing inconviences and awkward interactions for the sake of the gospel. Losing our sense of convience. Being on mission with a Bible believing church is much like the drive here for most of us. Inconvient. Let our comfort we find in the gospel propel us to be in the uncomfortable situations of the world. Whether its making housing decisions or moving decisions that don’t seem so convenient for what we feel you need but allow your house to be a place of ministry. Or taking a job that doesn’t pay as much but give you a better platform to rep Christ. Or taking a lunch with a coworker who doesn’t know the Lord rather than eating by yourself or your usual group. Losing your life, your time , your convenience, for the gospel, and not saving those things for something else. Cause those things will perish, but not if its lost for the gospel.
Being a disciple of Christ isn’t just losing your life for the gospel, but its also
- Be a Disciple of Christ by being fixed on eternity and instead of this world. (v.36-37)
Easier said than done right? I mean honestly everything we do, the country we live in, is about us. Its about this world. It’s about our own desires and wants being put first. Feeding our desires now. Immediate results. Christ goes onto listing points within the passage by saying in verse 36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? What Christ is saying is that, simply put, loosing or giving away ones soul for the whole world brings no profit. No reward. Not worth it. The value of ones soul, their very being, is far greater than the world. I mean it sounds great, my soul is worth a lot, but how does that help me in the day to day. It where we place our eyes. The decision to not forfeit our soul in exchange for the world is a day to day decision. It’s the daily struggle of choosing eternity over this world. Christ is reminding them that the soul of a man isn’t just meant for the joys of this world, which is fleeting and has an end date, but is meant for the joys of eternity. Thus making it so much more valuable .
And satan was trying to convince Jesus other wise. Remember? Satan tempted Jesus by tempting him very specifically in Matthew 4:9” And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Satan is basically saying, I’ll give you everything if you would just bow down before me. I’ll give you the world if you forfeit your soul. And Jesus slaps him in the face with some scripture. Matthew 4:10: “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,“‘You shall worship the Lord your Go and him only shall you serve.’ Christ in that instance, choosing to keep his eyes fixed on eternity rather than the literal world. Cause at the end of the day, we cannot take anything out of this world, its ridiculous to think so.
In ancient Egypt they actually believed this. Pharaohs and other rulers, when they died and buried in the tombs, would request being buried with expensive jewelry and other possessions. Believing that they would be able to take these things into the next life. Being so fixed on this world and their accomplishments and even their power, they wanted to bring that into the next life with them. All it represented, all it meant.
And even though most of us don’t and won’t bring our basketball card collection or our immense amount of collected books with us in our caskets, our heart is still in a similar place. And so was Peters. Peter heard what Christ said about dying and suffering, and that didn’t fit peters lifestyle. He was following jesus around, during all the miracles, but still didn’t get his eternal purpose. He saw him as someone who would serve the world alone, thus serving peters purpose. Peter, along with the other discples, were concerned about worldy things, like comfort, respect, power, recognition, and not fixed on eternity. Jesus even called them out, saying “you are not setting your mind on things of God but on things of man.” They were so concerned with the things surrounding them, the immediate, to live and forfeit their soul for that, they weren’t thinking about the bigger picture. .
Its like a baby right. I don’t have a kid, praise God, I mean praise God either way but for me now, praise God. But this church has about 115 kids. And every single one of them, I vie for their attention. Trying to make them laugh. My favorite game is peek a boo behind their parents shoulder. It guarantees that they will be looking at you. As long as I keep them interested, in their case, moving all around, they are fixed on me and nothing else. Until something more attractive, usually stabin, comes along and steals their attention. Brothers and sisters we need to be babies. Fixed on the thing that captivates us the most, eternity. Cause its far greater, far more life giving, and joy everlasting than anything else this world has to offer.
That’s hard though right? We get that truth in our minds but don’t always feel like it in our hearts. But its worth it. Many things of this world I still cling on to. For me its approval. Being accepted and loved and noticed by everyone. Something that God is still redeeming daily. As I took a step forward into ministry, which in the indian community is considered 10 steps back, I was attacked like crazy. And as the first year began, satan got creative an my flesh got weak. I mean think about it, my job is campus missionary. And in my head I had like a full time ministry totem poll. On top was like ppl who save millions of people when they speak, tim keller, other church pastors, missionaries who go to unreached countries and tribes, other missionaries who go to countries who are kind of reached, missionaries in Hawaii, and then me campus missionairy. This messed up view of a totem poll of approval I built, got so messed up it started making me feel insufficient. The guy who stood up here and cried when ya’ll sent me, was feeling the lack of approval once I stepped onto campus because I kept comparing myself to other ministry positions in this world. But after confessing this, and realizing where my eyes were fixed, on this world and not eternity, I realized that I was already approved and accepted by God through Jesus. And everything after that was gravy. The fact I get to share this gospel of life change that impacts eternity and not that many people care for it, is then worth it. Cause that Gospel saves people, approval from others doesn’t.
But what does it mean to fix our eyes on eternity? Simply put, to fix our eyes on Jesus. Heberews 12 talks about running a race, this life, all its craziness, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. Ripping all other things aside that holds us down, slows us up, and focusing on Jesus. Focusing on something greater. Brothers and sisters in order to focus on eternity we have to understand and see it as greater. We have to see Jesus himself as greater. That he fulfills those needs that he is worth it. Being fixed on eternity is knowing that we get to spend eternity with someone who knows all our garbage, all our shortcomings, all of our flaws and failures, and yet still desires, wants, loves to be with us. I literally know no one who, if they knew all of my thoughts and actions and how perverse and depraved I was, would still want to be my friend, let alone die for me. That is what it means to be fixed on eternity
Church we need to run from this world and the empty things it brings us. The false promises that it pushesin our face. Most of our parents come here from a country and work 3 jobs while raising us and not speaking the language to get us into school and established. Than climbing the ladder of success to get even more established. Then working hard for our kid do the same. A cycle that’ll keep going on and on and on. And I’m not saying those things are bad.A 401k, kids education, a nice house are good and show proof of one being hard working and responsible, But they are easily corruptible. If we are not fixed on eternity and what that means we start doing things to gain status, a better pay, more recognition, to advance in this world, and not advance the kingdom of God, in this world. What are we really doing, advancing ourselves, or advancing the gospel.
Lastly, being a disciple of Christ isn’t only losing your life for Christ and being fixed on eternity, its also
- Be a disciple of Christ by being unashamed instead of being cowardly. (V.38)
Lets jump back in, starting a verse 38. Now at first glance, this verse seems overwhelming. Challenging. One without hope. But brothers and sisters I wanna remind you that Jesus is talking to a group of people. People who are believers, knowing Jesus, like really knowing Jesus, and people just following Him around. Followers, and fans. But Christ goes to this last point basically saying if your ashamed of me in the generation of unfaithful and sinful people, than ill be ashamed of you when he comes back. Harsh language. Especially the word adulterous, referring to this generation.
God is constantly dealing with an “adulterous generation.” Its all through scripture. Even before Jesus, God had to deal with the Israelites. Remember the Israelites. This past year I read through genesis and exodus and relieved all those moments of unfaithfulness and being cowardly. In exodus when Moses goes up to talk to God on the mountain, the ones waiting build a golden calf and start worshipping it. And in various other instances where the Israelites become unfaithful and ashamed of God by not trusting Him, relying on themselves. Not trusting in Gods perfect timing in their giving situation. Even though they’ve seen God show up a bunch of times.
For God, its all personal. Personal enough, that Jesus calls our generation adulterours. He’s been cheated on. God hurts when he sees His creation turning to other things. Knowing who he is, what he’s done, yet still be ashamed of Him and turning away. It breaks his heart.
I mean think of it this way. Imagine a husband and a wife. A beautiful marriage. The husband deeply in love with His wife and willing to serve her in sacrificial ways. But the wife doesn’t acknowledge it. The wife is so distant. Only coming home once a week and being promiscuous the rest of the days. When out in public being 10 steps behind her husband, as if they weren’t even really married. Think about the pain the husband feels at that point. Willing to do so much, even being so faithful to his wife, yet the wife continuously remains unfaithful.
This is why Jesus calls this generation adulterous. Its so personal. He loves so deeply, so intimately, so sacrificially, yet people turn away. Over and over again. Being ashamed of Him. Being cowards of the gospel rather than representing Him. It’s the worst.
This all strikes me hard. Real hard. I’m ashamed of my God so much. And I’m a campus missionary. I mean its literally my job to be unashamed of who He is and what He’s done. But I am.
Now I can conclude this with a step by step process of how to be a disciple. Or even how to make disciples. By reiterating those points and have more to do items for you to take home. And honestly, it would be straight forward. I could just tell you lose your life for the gospel. Stop living just for yourself. BE fixed on eternity and not this world, and stop being a coward, be unashamed. But that wouldn’t last. We just cant do these things ourselves. And we don’t have to.
Christ never asks us to do something that he hasn’t done. With the sweet promise in the command left for us at the end of Matthew 28, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The promise he is always with us.
And why is that important? Because Jesus, who had it all, everything, chose to lose His own life on the cross so that we can gain eternity with Him. Had every right to keep His life for himself but carried everything to that cross. Losing his life to gain you.
Who kept his eyes fixed on His calling, His eternal purpose, when no ones eyes were fixed on him. When everyones back was turned on Him. Even the ones who He was doing it for. Forfeiting his soul in exchange for us.
And the one being so unashamed of the calling he had, boldy proclaiming who he was and what he was gonna do, felt the shame of his world. The full weight. Treated as if he was a coward. Feeling the ultimate shame when even feeling the silence of His father on the cross. Why? For His fathers glory, and in turn the salvation for those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths. Jesus chose to do these things. And did them perfectly while bearing the full weight of it all. That’s how much he loves us.
Be encouraged by that truth Church. That we serve a Servant King who suffered, was rejected, killed, and rose again after 3 days. And he did that so that we could be in a relationship with Him, thus repping him. A King, choosing to be a servant, so that we could endure and be a disciple of Christ.
Why does Jesus use such strong language?
Allows us to boast in our weakness
Jesus saying same as prophets
Not listening to the lord breaks his heart (Edwards commentary)
Uses strong language , adultery
Spouse not caring about groom
Not talking about believers, not followers but fans. Never giving their life to Christ
I feel ashamed of him. Even though a campus missionary
HE is with us, cause when God wasn’t with Him.