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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


A Stunning Announcement

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31, NIV)

When we begin to follow Jesus, He does not show us the full picture. He does not tell us all that the future will hold. He discloses himself to us gradually as we follow Him.

That’s certainly the case here with the Twelve. They had now been with Jesus for more than two years. When they first began to follow they thought they knew who He was. On that first day of discipleship Andrew excitedly exclaimed to Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).

But now at the villages of Caesarea Philippi, far removed from the adoring crowds of Galilee, the defining moment came. The disciples passed the test when Peter said, “You are the Messiah” (Christ — the Anointed One).

Early in His ministry Jesus gave a hint of what was to come: “But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast” (Mark 2:20). The disciples didn’t catch it then — even as we often are insensitive to subtle signals the Lord gives about our own destiny.

Now comes the jolt! For the first time, Jesus explicitly states how His life will play out. We know it’s the first time because Mark says, “He began to teach them.” We know also that this was not a one-time announcement since the word “teach” is used. Mark is only giving us the summary of Jesus’ extended explanation of the completion of His mission on earth. It’s summed up in these four stages.

First, Jesus must suffer many things. Certainly Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 provide a rather clear picture of the suffering Jesus would go through. No doubt Jesus walked the disciples through those passages and tried to open their minds to understand the Scriptures, even as He did later to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after the Resurrection (Luke 24:27).

Second, Jesus must be rejected. The Lord clearly identifies the three centers of rejection: “elders, chief priests and teachers of the law.” He does not list the general population, His family, or even His disciples. At this point, He doesn’t even identify Judas. Clearly, Jesus targets the religious establishment of His day as the ones who will be responsible for rejection.

Third, Jesus must be killed. Jesus does not at this moment detail the manner by which He would be killed, nevertheless “killed” is a chilling and foreboding word.

Fourth, Jesus must rise again after three days. Death would not be the end. For Jesus, and for all who follow Him, death is not the terminus. Death will be swallowed up by life (2 Corinthians 5:4).

In just moments the disciples had gone from the exhilaration of identifying Jesus as the Messiah to stunning and sobering news they had not anticipated. The only cushion to Jesus’ announcement of His being killed is the promise that He would also be raised.

You and I also are going to die — a death much different from our Lord’s (unless He returns first). But what He promises for himself, He also promises for us! Death and the grave can neither hold Him nor those who believe in Him!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, continue to reveal yourself to me. Help me to learn again from Your example that suffering is never Your last word — that, like You, I am destined to live!

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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