The Inevitability of the Cross
St. Mark 10: 32-34
Vs. "..the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; 34 they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”
The Bible passage we are looking at during this Mid-Lent season is the passage where Jesus predicts His death for the third time. Some questions come to mind when studying this passage:
Why does Jesus mention about His death three times to the disciples? Is He trying to prepare the disciples for His death? Is He testing their faith? Is He trying to scare them? It is actually more than these suggestions. From the beginning, Jesus knew the men He had chosen as His disciples, were men of doubt, sin, and fear; it is the sole reason He selected them. He planned to instill faith, grace, and courage in each so that they could touch the lives of others as they progressed on their walks of faith.
Christ was not trying to scare the disciples; instead He was acknowledging the future at hand with courage. Doubt is an overbearing element and it pairs well with fear. When we don’t believe that we have the ability to accomplish a goal or overcome an obstacle in our lives, we back away with fear and fall back to the comforts of the known. Each time Jesus predicts His capture and death, the disciples express their disbelief, which is why Christ feels the need to express what will happen out loud. This prediction is repeated three times to show consistency. He utilizes these moments to teach the disciples that the constant acknowledgement of faith is necessary and extremely helpful. Consistency is key to becoming a strong Christian. The more we practice our faith, the less doubt we face when obstacles come our way.
The strength and courage Christ delineates is inspirational. Expressing one’s death cannot be done with ease. The way Christ delivers the message to the disciples is definitive and powerful. He says “they WILL condemn him to death and WILL hand him over to the Gentiles, who WILL mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he WILL rise.” He is clear about His way and is ready to face all that will happen. Christ speaks as though it is already done and there is no reason to be fearful at this point. Notice that there is no uncertainty in His words. The word “will” precedes each action described in the passage showing clarity and confidence. This is exactly what Christ wants each of His disciples and us to have in our own life endeavors. Our lives are full of moments where we need to sacrifice our comforts to glorify His name. There is no resurrection without the cross. If He can sacrifice His life, why can’t we sacrifice details that are far more insignificant? During this lent season we must consume our lives with courage and faith. God’s plan for us is inevitable. Whatever it is that we need to overcome, we need to accept that it will happen, and then all barriers will come crashing down.
Dear Lord, we pray that the Holy Spirit will work in our hearts so that we can grow with courage to face life with the absence of fear and doubt. May Your words reside in our hearts and stir us to action. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
"It is to the Cross that the Christian is challenged to follow his Master: no path of redemption can make a detour around it.” ― Hans Urs von Balthasar
Sharon Josh, Long Island MTC, NYChristian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church