Scripture: Mark 8:31-38
Who Am I?
This passage shows Jesus preparing his disciples for the role they will need to play going forward after Calvary. In the passages before and after these verses, Mark has Jesus asking his disciples “Who am I?” Here, however, there is a sense of urgency and even impatience with those closest to him. Time is short!
In thirty years of negotiating the human condition by example, Jesus, The Son of Man, has experienced the way that the spiritual connection to the Divine within each person is often clouded or even obscured by ego, fear, doubt, anger, greed, envy, material comfort, blind adherence to rules and attachments to the past.
Peter’s reaction to Jesus’ blunt prediction of his own physical suffering and death, confirms for Christ, The Son of God, that all those negative forces are at play in those who will be tasked with carrying on his work. There is no time for soft words or parables. The time has come for intervention and tough love. He stops Peter in his tracks.
Peter has become a sort of spin doctor, wanting Jesus not to “rock the boat,” so to speak. We can certainly understand that Peter could be plagued by fear and doubt. Perhaps he has become comfortable and self important in his role as confidante. Or perhaps he is angry that there will be no easy rules to follow, only personal choices and accountability; no comfortable retirement position in the Court of the King, but an ongoing struggle for life in the Spirit. In Peter, we see most clearly our own dilemma as we face both life and Calvary.
And so Christ’s riddle….to save life you lose it.
We can be beguiled into believing that life is a search for material comfort, even at the expense of others or in power for it’s own sake. Fear and doubt can keep us from confronting negativity in life’s journey. Jesus needs his disciples and us to understand that physical death is nothing when the connection to the Divine is kept clear of this negativity; that living without that spiritual connection is, in fact, death. Spiritual connection to the Divine, throughout both physical life and death, is the goal. Keeping that connection clear of negative forces is our task!
By Leslie Fenton
O God, in you is life and dreams and new possibilities. Help us to set aside negative thoughts and embrace the light of your love. Remind us to live our lives in the Spirit, holding fast to our divine connection with you. AMEN