CHAPTER 4

Mark 8: 34 to 38

THE CROSSROADS

Then Jesus called together the crowd with his disciples, and said, “Anyone who wants to be a follower of mine must renounce self; he must take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to preserve life will lose it; but whoever is ready to give his life for my sake and the Gospel’s – he will save it. Where is the profit in gaining the whole world at the cost of your own soul? What can you give in exchange for your soul? If anyone disowns me and my teaching in this wicked and sinful generation, the Son of Man will disown when he comes in the glory of the Father with his holy angels.” He emphasised, “I tell you most solemnly, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

It may seem strange to concentrate on five short verses when the whole sweep of the Gospel lies before us. But these verses represent the very heart of the Gospel, and it is as we read them that we are helped to see the purpose for which this Gospel came into being. In every way they stand out. They stand between the two halves of the Gospel, and in a way belong to neither. Their style is different; their content is startlingly different from anything we have seen, and Jesus’ action in calling the crowd as well as the disciples together prepares us for something, the like of which we have not seen.