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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Second Sunday In Lent-B

Option A: From Rev. Kelly Bedard

"'Tis the Season to be Counter-Cultural"
Mark 8:31-38

A. A Therapeutic Culture

1. Consumed by the things we consume (Richard John Neuhaus) and by unconscious egotism

2. Often we have no compass in life but the (non-spiritual) bottom line(s)

B. A Sympathetic Christ

1. The sweetness of sacrifice: the "biggies" in life--marriage, raising children, professional achievement--involve a combination of pleasure and pain

2. With the Holy Spirit, empowers us to become in practice what we are in essence--forgiven and forgiving; holiness doesn't get us to Christ but Christ gets holiness to us!

(Outline inspired, in part, by George Sim Johnston's "Sweet Sacrifice" in The Wall Street Journal, 3/10/00)

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.


Option B: From Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"Having God On Your Mind"
Mark 8:31

I What happens when you don't have God on your mind...

A. Your old selfish nature takes over

1. Just as Peter's did when he wanted Jesus to walk the glory road.

2. This is the same agenda that Satan had for Jesus in the desert (Matt. 4:8-9)

a. Glory without suffering

b. Gain without pain

B. Many in today's world have adopted the goals of man, not God.

1. They think only of this life.

2. Many in the church want "Personal peace and affluence"

a. "I don't want to get involved."

b. "I want the good life."

C. Jesus rebukes this thinking in verses 35-38

II What happens when you do have God on your mind...

A. You seek God's Kingdom first

1. God sees to it that you have what you need to serve Him. (Matt. 6:33)

2. You have Christian joy in place of emptiness. (Luke6:21ff)

B. You will receive a rich reward in eternal life.

1. As Jesus promised in Matt. 19:27-29

2. As God promised His children in Daniel 12:3

3. As Paul modeled for us in Phil. 3:8

Commentary: Kenneth Wuest gives some Greek insights on the Matthew parallel text: 

1) "He turned." Verb is second aorist passive participle, quick ingressive action. Jesus turned away from Peter in revulsion, and toward the other disciples.

2) "Get thee behind me, Satan!" Just before this Peter had played the part of a rock. He gave the noble confession and enjoyed a place of leadership. Now he is playing the part of Satan and is ordered "to the rear." Satan, this time through Peter, was tempting Jesus not to go on to the cross even as he had done while Jesus was in the wilderness. None are more formidable instruments of temptation than well-meaning friends, who care more for our comfort than for our character. "In Peter the banished Satan had once more returned" (Plummer).

3) "A stumbling-block unto me" is an objective genitive. Peter acted in ignorance, surely, but none the less really. He was acting as Satan's cats-paw; he had set a trap for Christ that would undo all his mission to earth. You are not, as before, a noble rock, lying in its right position as a massive foundation stone. On the contrary, you are like a stone quite out of its proper place, and lying right across the road in which I must go, lying as a "stone of stumbling."

4) "You have in mind not God's point of view, but man's" (Moffatt). You do not think God's thoughts. Clearly the consciousness of the coming cross is not a new idea with Jesus. We do not know when he first foresaw this outcome any more than we know when first the Messianic consciousness appeared in Jesus. He had the glimmerings of it as a boy of twelve, when he spoke of My Father's house. He knows that he must die on the cross.

5) "(Whoever follows me must) take up his cross, pick it up at once" is in the aorist tense. But pertinent here also in explanation of Christ's rebuke to Peter.

Christ's own cross faces him. Peter had dared to pull Christ away from his destiny. He would do better to face squarely his own cross and to bear it after Jesus. The disciples would be familiar with cross-bearing as a figure of speech by reason of the crucifixion of criminals in Jerusalem.

6) "Follow" is in the present tense, used duratively as in "Keep on following."

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

Source of notes: Kenneth Wuest, Word Pictures In The New Testament.

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