MARK 8:22-38 (NIV – UK)
Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spat on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’
24 He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Don’t even go into the village.’
Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’
28 They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’
29 ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus predicts his death
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’
The way of the cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.’
TAKE YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME
Jesus throws open an invitation to anyone who will listen – come and be my disciple. There is just one condition – if we want to be Jesus’ disciple we must follow him – and following him means denying ourselves and all the desires, ideas and designs we may have for life – and we are to go with him to the cross (v. 34). In order to follow Jesus we must follow him into spiritual death, so that we can be with him in new life (v. 35).
The Christian life is a life of dying and rising again – dying to our old selves and rising to new life in Jesus – or as Jesus says in John 3:7, ‘you must be born again’. Jesus gave everything for us on the Cross – including his own life. If we want to follow Jesus – we must give everything to him – including our whole lives.
Question: How do you feel about the idea of taking your cross and following Jesus?