How Shall I die? Mark 8:31-38
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Lent is one of the most meaningful seasons of the year. A time to renew ourselves in spiritual discipline, a time to make ourselves aware of what the cross cost Christ and what it means for us. That is what Lent is. The author of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for every matter under heaven and for us Lent is a time to die to our sins, to die to our self-centered wills, and a time to die to our very selves. And when that happens, Lent is also a time for the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins, to raise up a new creation in Christ in place of our self-centered wills, and renew ourselves with the breath of baptismal new life.
And that is exactly what the Gospel reading is about this week. In this week’s Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus predicts his death for the first time. “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.” Jesus tells his disciples. After over the three years they follow Jesus, their great hope is that he will lead them in a military revolution and overthrow their Roman oppressors. They’ve seen him feed the multitudes, heal the sick, clear the temple, and raise the dead. They’ve heard him proclaim the arrival of a new and glorious kingdom that will never end and never fail. So, they longed for the future and dreams to be fulfilled. But now he says he will be killed. So, how
could it be the ‘good news’? And he says “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 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.”