“The Way of the Cross” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Mark 8:31-35

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Not the typical invitation to follow Jesus we are used to, but this is what Jesus declares to the crowd and His disciples. Jesus had just been teaching that the son of man must endure many things, be rejected by the religious authority and be killed and raised again after three days when Peter decided to pull Jesus aside and rebuke this teaching. Its hard to blame Peter for his response, after all, the last thing you expect to hear form the Rabi you were following for 3 years is that he was about to be killed, and was willing let it happen. Jesus tells Peter that he only has in mind human concerns, not the concerns of God. When you look at the reactions of people following Jesus and the religious leaders, the messiah that they were looking for was along the lines of the judges of the Old Testament, someone to save them from the oppressive foreign ruler and restore Israel to its former glory and right standing with God. This is the difference Jesus means with human verses God’s concerns. Peter and everyone else wanted to be saved from Rome, but God desired they be saved from them selves.”For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,” Jesus continues “but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Jesus teaching is always accompanied by action, explaining the heart of God and the way of His Kingdom while serving others and providing healing for their sins. To deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him is to live lives of service to others, doing the work of the kingdom here on earth. This is the life Jesus taught us to lead, the life God made us to live; this is the way of the cross.

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Pennsylvania Health Department has made the wearing of masks mandatory in public spaces, so masks will be required at all worship services.
There is no evening worship this Saturday, July 4.
The church office is closed Monday, July 6, for the holiday.