- Chartres Cathedral
TO CHEW ON: " ' For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.' " Mark 8:26,30,31
It is interesting what Peter (Mark is believed to be John Mark's recording of what he heard from Peter) recalls of a time about a year before the crucifixion.
Jesus heals a blind man, then commands him to tell no one (Mark 8:26). Jesus asks the disciples who they think He is. Peter answers, " ' You are the Christ.' " Jesus tells Peter and all of them to " ...tell no one about Him" (Mark 8:30). Then He predicts His suffering, rejection by the Jewish leaders, death and resurrection "openly" (Mark 8:32).
Why this secrecy about some things and openness about others? '
My thought is that we view these things, about which Jesus asks for secrecy, in the light of His death and resurrection and see how His ability to heal and His title as Messiah fit into God's scheme of things. But Jesus' contemporaries had no such advantage. His reputation and resulting popularity as a healer and Messiah (who the Jews thought would be their political savior from the Romans) would conflict with His real mission. And so He hushed up these things, or tried to.
I wonder if we still don't do something similar with Jesus. We ask for His healing and invoke His power, but without a view to the price He paid and what it means for us if our lives are to actually connect with His plans and purposes. It means: " 'Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross … lose his life for My sake and the gospel…' ", be proud of Jesus' unpopular work and words - Mark 8:34-38.
His power and popularity then, and through the Holy Spirit in our lives now, are not to serve our relief from pain or desire to be on the winning side. Rather, they are to serve the purposes of the kingdom of God, to fit into a picture that is way bigger than any one life, or even lifetime. Our part may not feel like health or winning at all, but like losing.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for becoming a man and living clear-sighted about Your mission. Help me to see my life as similarly disposable—for You and the gospel. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.