PRAY: Humbly ask God to give you wisdom to understand this portion of the Bible and the faith to live out what He reveals to you.
READ: Mark 8:27-38
Jesus has a mission. But are we, who acknowledge Him as Lord, willing to join that mission or are we getting in the way by our self-willfulness? That’s the question that jumps out at me when I read this passage. And if I’m honest, I don’t always like the answer. But thankfully, as the life of Peter shows, God’s grace is bigger than my flaws and doubts.
In many ways, Peter gets it – he understands and acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ. But oh man, he so doesn’t get it! Literally four verses after Peter acknowledges that Jesus is God’s long-awaited Messiah, Jesus has to rebuke Peter for thinking in earthly terms and standing in the way of Jesus’ plan. Imagine hearing Jesus say to you, “get behind me, Satan!” Peter likely thought the Messiah would deliver His people from their earthly oppressor, Rome. Jesus’ plan was so much grander! He was going to save His people from their ultimate oppressors: Satan, sin, and death. But this would require Jesus to die, and Peter didn’t like that idea.
So if death on a cross and resurrection from the dead was Jesus’ mission then, what is His mission today? It’s building His church by calling His disciples (us) to go make more disciples – the Great Commission (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:18-20). Making disciples of Jesus won’t always be easy. It may require awkward conversations with friends. Or it may require taking a stand on an issue where the Bible is clear but culture thinks otherwise. It might even mean moving across the world to proclaim Jesus to other peoples in dangerous circumstances.
No, following Jesus on mission to build His church will not be easy. That’s why Jesus said that if a person wants to follow Him, they must take up their cross daily. But then Jesus adds that the person who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will gain it. A few chapters later, Jesus promises that, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come” (Mark 10:29-30). Following Jesus on mission may be costly, but it will be so worth it!
Every day we have the choice to join Jesus on mission. And if yesterday you were hindering the mission rather than joining Jesus on it, remember that Jesus called Peter “Satan” and yet saw fit to use Peter mightily as an apostle in the early church. God’s grace is new every morning – it’s never too late to join in His mission of building His church by making disciples. I promise, and way more importantly, God promises, you won’t regret it.
1. What is holding you back from joining Jesus on mission in making disciples?
2. How can it encourage you to know that God used the deeply flawed Peter in mighty ways? Can this give you courage to follow Jesus despite your own flaws?
Memorize: Mark 8:34
“Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.’”