Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXXI: Encouragement To Face Inevitable Persecution
(Mark 8:31-9:4)
  1. Introduction
    1. Christ declared that those who follow Him must take up a cross, denying themselves, Mk. 8:34.
    2. How and why can one follow Christ, knowing that doing involves such an unsavory, costly price tag?
    3. In writing to Roman Christians who were about to suffer under Nero's persecution, Mark displayed this challenge of Christ to His disciples as couched in the framework of a marvelous motivation as follows:
  2. Encouragement To Face Inevitable Persecution, Mk. 8:31-9:4.
    1. When Jesus began to teach His disciples that He would suffer persecution by Israel's religious leaders, be killed and raised from the dead, the idea so bothered Peter that he rebuked Jesus, Mark 8:31-32.
    2. Jesus' response to this reaction taught the disciples to face inevitable persecution as follows:
      1. Jesus rebuked Peter's objection about His facing persecution, stating that refusal to face it was wrong:
        1. Peter's objection to facing persecution was from Satan, so Jesus rebuked Satan who had put the idea into Peter's mind that it was objectionable, Mark 8:33a.
        2. Satan's objection to facing persecution came from savoring the values of man, a value that resists suffering persecution for doing God's will rather than desiring God's will above man's desire to go an easy route and avoid conflict and trouble, Mark 8:33b.
      2. He then revealed the will of God for those disciples who faced persecution, Mark 8:35-38:
        1. He noted that those who sought to shield their lives from persecution for righteousness' sake by renouncing the gospel would lose it, and those chose to lose their lives as martyrs, p roving that they were believers would inherit eternity, Mk. 8:35-37 with Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn.
        2. Thus, as the disciples choice between avoiding persecution or facing it reflected their faith in Christ, they were much better off from the eternal perspective facing the persecution to come, Mark 8:38.
      3. As an encouragement to face persecution, Jesus immediately followed this challenge with a great hope:
        1. Jesus then promised that some who were in the group of the disciples would not taste a martyr's death until they had seen the Kingdom of God coming with its power, Mark 9:1.
        2. This promise was fulfilled within one week with the Transfiguration as follows: (a) Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John up to the mount of Transfiguration, and was transfigured into His heavenly glory of the Millennial Kingdom era, Mark 9:2. (b) This glory included clothes that were shimmering in beauty with incredible white, clean brilliance, Mark 9:3; it also included a translated saint, Elijah and a deceased saint to be resurrected in the Millennium, Moses, Mark 9 :4 with 2 Kings 2:11 and Deuteronomy 34:1-6 respectively. This foreshadows the joining of raptured and resurrected Church and Old Testament saints in the Millennium, cf. Rev. 20:4; Zech 14:5b.
Lesson: (1) Dreading to face trouble for righteousness' sake comes from adopting Satan's values, Mk. 8:31-33a. (2) Thus, we should hold the comforts of this life at arm's length and face trouble for righteousness' sake, Mk. 8:34-38. (3) As encour agement to pay this price, Christ wants us to concentrate on the great eternal glory to follow for doing so, Mk. 9:1-4.

Application: Before seeking to make life as comfortable as we can, we must run circumstances through the "grid" of Scripture to see what is God's will. Only when the issue does not cost doing His will can we afford comfort of any kind; otherwise, pay the price and face the music with eternity's values in view!

Illustration: Missionary martyr, Nate Saint, wrote: "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot hope to keep to gain what he cannot lose." When viewing his martyrdom in the 1950s today, we more easily see its value: (a) since he would have been muc h closer to death now, martyrdom doesn't look unreasonable; (b) since by it Indians have come to Christ not to mention the hundreds of young people who were moved to become missionaries, the price actually becomes attractive!