Mark: Jesus The Perfect Servant Of God

Part II: The Perfect Service Of Jesus, The Perfect Servant Of God, Mark 1:1-10:52

EE. Christ's Work To Disciple Men To Exchange Their Plans For God's Will

(Mark 8:27-38)


I.              Introduction

A.    We learned in our first lesson in this series that Mark's Gospel presents the perfect service of God's Perfect Servant, Jesus, with Mark's focus of having rebounded unto upright service from personal failure.

B.    Mark may have abandoned the ministry in Acts 13:13 in disillusionment over the hardships Barnabas and Saul faced opposite the honor and ease Mark may have wanted to experience in service, B. K. C., N. T., p. 388-389.

C.    However, Jesus led His disciples to submit their wills to God's will in Mark 8:27-38, so we view it for insight:

II.            Christ's Work To Disciple Men To Exchange Their Plans For God's Will, Mark 8:27-38.

A.    As Jesus led His disciples to the area of Caesarea Philippi, He asked them, "Whom do men say that I am?" and they replied that men variously held Him to be John the Baptizer, Elijah or one of the prophets, Mark 8:27-28.

B.    Jesus then asked, "But whom say ye that I am?", to which Peter, the spokesman for the twelve disciples, replied, "Thou art the Christ," with "Christ" translating the term, Christos, meaning "the Anointed One; Messiah," Ibid.; Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Eng. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 895; Mark 8:29.

C.    This confession of faith was not only correct, but necessary to be affirmed by the disciples before Jesus led them into the next phase of discipleship, revealing why He elicited it, Ibid., Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 139.

D.    Specifically, that next phase of discipleship involved a dramatic change in the disciples' expectation of soon ruling with Jesus unto realizing they would have to face great suffering before that ruling experience:

1.     The disciples, like Israel, held the Messiah would set up His Kingdom when He came, so this confession of Jesus as the Messiah meant the disciples anticipated they would soon rule with Him, Ibid., p. 140.

2.     Yet, God willed for Christ to face the cross before the crown, with similar implications for Jesus' disciples.

E.     Thus, Jesus responded to Peter's accurate, great confession by charging His disciples to tell no man of His Messianic identity before openly announcing the shocking news that He would suffer many things, be rejected of Israel's leaders, be slain and after three days rise again, Mark 8:30-31!

F.     This prediction bothered Peter and the other disciples, for Jesus' suffering implied a difficult future for His followers before they reigned, so Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke Him for His negative prediction, Mark 8:32.

G.    Peter spoke for the others, so Jesus turned around to look at them all before answering Peter, saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men," Mark 8:33. 

H.    Then, addressing the crowd with His disciples, Jesus revealed the universal principle that as the Messiah had to suffer the cross before the crown, His followers also had to suffer prior to their glorification, Mark 8:34-38:

1.     Jesus said that if anyone wished to follow Him, he had to deny himself, that is, deny his own plans for his life, and take up his cross in submission to God's will and so follow Christ, Mark 8:34, Ibid., p. 141.

2.     Verses 35-38 are each introduced by the Greek term gar that signals an explanation of this switch in allegiance from one's own will to God's will (Ibid.): (a) First, anyone who chose to save his life for his own interests would lose it, but whoever lost his life to his own agenda for Christ's sake and the gospel of salvation would save it in the end, Mark 8:35.  (b) Second, there was no profit to gaining the world by sticking to his own will and losing his soul in rejecting the gospel, so one best submit to God to believe the gospel, Mark 8:36.  (c) Third, no one could give all he owned in exchange for his soul's salvation, so he was best dying to selfish interests to heed God's will and believe the gospel, Mark 8:37.  (d) Fourth, if one was ashamed of Christ and His words in that evil generation in seeking his own will versus trusting in Christ, Jesus would be ashamed of him when He came in the Father's glory with the holy angels, Mk. 8:38.

3.     These verses reveal that for that generation, to trust in Christ and so to follow Him led to suffering as seen in the future of each of the disciples, but the principle applies for all discipleship today: 2 Timothy 2:11b ESV states of believers in the Church era: "If we have died with him, we will also live with him."


Lesson: Following Jesus involves the cross of sacrificing one's own will in life for God's will, of suffering the cross before the crown, starting with faith in the gospel versus self-help works and going all through the Christian life.


Application: (1) May we trust in Christ to be saved versus relying on our works to be saved, Eph. 2:8-9.  (2) Then, may we submit our will to God's will as a way of life, experiencing the cross before the crown of God's reward.