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You Will Pay a Price

March 7, 2021 Speaker: Brian Wilbur Series: The Gospel of Mark

Topic: Discipleship Passage: Mark 8:34–8:38

YOU WILL PAY A PRICE

An Exposition of Mark 8:34-38

By Pastor Brian Wilbur

Date: March 7, 2021

Series: Mark: Knowing and Following God’s Son

Note: Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

THE SCRIPTURAL TEXT

Holy Scripture says:

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

INTRODUCTION

“You will pay a price.” That's the title of the sermon – and this is how I want to introduce the sermon. One way or another, sooner or later, you will pay a price. Following Jesus is costly, and not following Jesus is costly.

Last week we spoke about how denying yourself, taking up your cross, and then actually following Jesus on the costly path of suffering – this is the way of obedience that leads to final glory. Today I want to focus our attention on one specific aspect of the cost involved in following Jesus – and this specific aspect comes out in verse 38, but it really runs throughout verses 31-38. The theme we will focus on is rejection and shame

JESUS SUFFERED REJECTION AND SHAME (v. 31)

When Jesus described his journey to the cross, he said “that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31).

Jesus’ suffering was not impersonal. Sometimes suffering is impersonal. If you're having a hard time making ends meet, or the vehicle has broken down one more time, or you can't find relief for your aching back, or your wonderful plans just never seem to come together, you are suffering the realities of life in a fallen world, but you don't feel that other people are against you. That's what I mean by suffering that isn't personal – suffering that is not characterized by personal animosity or enmity.

Sometimes faithfully following Christ will lead to general kinds of suffering. For instance, you might turn down a job promotion because you know it would interfere with caring for your family or serving your church, and you feel the financial pinch; or maybe your labor-intensive ministry is so much that you feel the weariness in your bones. And that is real suffering to be endured graciously, but it's impersonal.

What we need to talk about today is suffering that is intensely personal, and full of animosity and enmity against you.

Notice the personal nature of Jesus’ suffering. He will be treated unfairly and with contempt. In Mark 10:34, we are told that Jesus will be mocked, spit on and flogged. Here in Mark 8:31, we see that Jesus will “be rejected” – this is very personal. He will be rejected by the somebodies, by the ruling class, by the cultural and religious elites, by the power brokers, by the world.

Mark 10:33 adds that “the chief priests and the scribes… will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles.” And of course we know that Pilate will sign off on the demand to crucify Jesus, and the Roman soldiers will treat him with contempt. So Jesus would be rejected by the religious world and by the political world. “He was despised and rejected by men… and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)

Despised. Rejected. Not esteemed. And Jesus says, Take up your cross and follow me on this path. Follow Jesus on the path of being despised, of being rejected, of being not esteemed, of being put to shame.

DISCIPLES PUBLICLY IDENTIFY WITH JESUS AND SHARE IN HIS SHAME (v. 34)

Now let's go to verse 34 and ponder the instruction to take up your cross. Last week I focused on taking up your cross with the understanding of the cross as an instrument of death. But the cross was also, at the very same time, an instrument of public shaming. There were many ways in which the Roman Empire could put criminals to death. The shameful act of crucifying someone was reserved for the lowest of the low. These criminals very publicly would take the horizontal crossbeam up on their back and walk to the place of execution where they would be exposed to public ridicule and shame. “[Take] up [your] cross and follow me” (v. 34)!

Eckhard Schnabel comments, “Since crucifixion was regarded as the most shameful death, evident in vulgar taunts, curses and jests in which the word ‘cross’ was used, the metaphor [of taking up your cross] challenges Jesus’ followers to accept the shame that is involved in following him.”[1]

The point is that the disciple must be completely and publicly identified with the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ did not come into our broken world in order to become a hidden Savior to hidden people who have a hidden faith in a hidden message. ‘Just give me a little privatized Jesus in the invisible regions of my little privatized heart’ while I publicly go about my business as a friend of the world’ – that is not the mindset of a true disciple.

The call to take up your cross and follow Jesus involves publicly identifying with Jesus and participating in his being scorned and shamed by the world.

YOU CAN HAVE JESUS OR THE WORLD, BUT NOT BOTH (v. 35-36)

Going to verses 35-36, notice that losing your life for Jesus’ sake and the gospel’s (v. 35) is set in contrast to gaining the whole world (v. 36). You can have Jesus or you can have the world, but you cannot have both.

When we think of attempting to gain the whole world, we often think in terms of money and possessions, or comforts and pleasures – and of course that is part of what it means to love the world.

But chasing after the world also has to do with respectability. There's a natural desire to be accepted, liked, esteemed, thought well of, and honored by the world, and to avoid being ridiculed and shamed. I touched on this briefly last week, but really want to focus on this now.

In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus warned his followers not to be like the hypocrites who undertook religious activities as publicity stunts. They give to the needy, they pray, and they fast for the express purpose of being seen and praised by others. And Jesus says that if you calculate your actions to win applause from men, that's all the reward you’re ever going to get. They were religious – and yet they loved the world and craved admiration. What does it profit a man to gain the admiration of the whole world and yet have no relationship with the Father above?

In the blessings and woes of Luke 6, Jesus said some sobering words about being liked by the world. He said, Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26) If you want to be esteemed by the world, all you have to do is take your cue from the false prophets and tell people what they want to hear. Itch their ears. Bend to their wishes. Make them feel good about themselves. Craft your words to suit their sinful hearts. Speak peace when there is no peace. Do that and you might win a Golden Globe award. You probably won't be able to win a Golden Globe! But if you do as the false prophets did, then the world will applaud your ‘good character’ and ‘your wisdom’ and ‘your advocacy’. But Jesus says, “Woe to you”! You must die to human fanfare. You must learn a different way.

Jesus set forth this different way a few verses before Luke 6:26. He said, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)

Hated, excluded, reviled, spurned – not because you're a self-absorbed jerk. If you are a self-absorbed jerk and that's why you get shunned, you’re not going to get much sympathy from Jesus. But what is envisioned here is people who are pushed away “on account of the Son of Man” – because they are publicly identifying with and are loyal to Jesus. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you…. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:18, 20)

What happened to the superficial followers back in the parable of the soils? They had a superficial response to the word – they had a little joy and good feeling (Mark 4:16-17). But then what happened? Persecution and tribulation “arises on account of the word” (Mark 4:17) – and what happens? They bail: “immediately they fall away” (Mark 4:17). Persecution makes their true colors show.

When Jesus faced tribulation and persecution on the path of obedience to the Father, he did not fall away. He stood firm. He abided in the Father's love. He persevered in faithfulness to the very end. As they mistreated him and mocked him, he endured. He knew that beyond the suffering of the cross there would be the glory of the resurrection. Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). And you're called to follow him. The next verse says, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:3) Jesus endured – through death and resurrection he triumphed over the hostility and the shame. And as his followers, if we share now in his suffering, rejection, and shame, then “[some] glad morning when this life is o’er”[2] we will also share in his vindication and victory.

But first things first – and the suffering is first. It says in Hebrews 13: “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:12-14) You see, if you believed that here in this present world you do have a lasting home or if you believed that your home here is the only one you’re ever going to have, then you'll try to preserve it, maximize it, gain it, keep it. But when you realize that your true home is the city “whose designer and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10), and that He has promised to unveil it in the age to come, and that the well-trodden path that leads there is marked by rejection, reproach, suffering, and shame, then what do you do? You “go to him”! You join Him. You follow Him. And you bear the reproach, the disgrace, the shame, the ridicule, and the hate that He endured.

So the meaning of take up your cross and follow Jesus includes the urgent call to die to the need for any honor from the world. Because if you follow Jesus, what you're going to get from the world is dishonor.

Friends, identify with Jesus and bear the disgrace that he endured on the path of suffering.

ASHAMED OF JESUS AND HIS WORDS? (v. 38)

Now let’s look at Mark 8:38 – 

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

This is obviously describing people who refused to take up their cross and follow Jesus – people who refused to lose their life for Jesus’ sake and the gospel’s, people who refused to share in the Lord's rejection and shame. And it is very personal, isn't it? The non-disciple is ashamed of Jesus. The non-disciple wants the cool kids – like the elders, chief priests, and scribes – to like them. Being identified with Jesus is not a good way to be liked by the people who hate Jesus. The non-disciple wants to gain the friendship of the world – and being identified with Jesus is not a very good way to get favor from the world that put Jesus to death.

As I read earlier, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” (Luke 6:22) The non-disciple doesn't want to bear that disgrace. And so what does he do? He keeps his distance from the Son of Man. He may give off the vibes of polite religiosity, but in the end his heart attitude is ‘No thank you, Jesus. I just really want to be liked.’ He would rather have the world with Jesus far away, then to have his worldly prospects jeopardized through association with Jesus.

Notice that the non-disciple isn't only ashamed of Jesus but is also ashamed of Jesus’ words. And this is where the rubber meets the road. In the end, it is Jesus' words that test your attitude toward him and your loyalty toward him. Many people in the world vainly imagine that they have a positive attitude toward Jesus but frankly they have never dealt honestly with his words.

We must understand that his words are absolutely pivotal. We have a vivid example of that right here in Chapter 8. In Mark 8:29, Peter correctly affirmed that Jesus is the Messiah. And then what did Jesus do? He spoke – he spoke in words! – and he explained that he was going to suffer and be rejected and be killed, and afterward rise again. And in that moment, Peter ought to have felt tremendous honor of being in fellowship with and learning from the humble and lowly Messiah-King. But instead Peter protests and rebukes the Lord. Peter was not yet able to cherish the Lord's words about the necessary journey to the cross.

And it would get worse for Peter before it got better. Who wants to be publicly identified with someone who is about to be executed for blasphemy? And so, there is Jesus on trial before the religious authorities, and Peter is observing from a distance. And some of the other folks there recognize Peter. They perceive that Peter was a friend of Jesus. But the last thing Peter wanted to do was identify publicly with Jesus in that moment. And so, to his great shame, he called down curses on himself and said, “I do not know this man” (Mark 14:71). What will you do when you perceive that it is not in your best immediate interests to be known as a friend of Jesus? Peter learned the lesson and would became a faithful apostle who counted it a joy to share in the Lord’s suffering.

But the non-disciple persists in being ashamed of Jesus and his words “in this adulterous and sinful generation”.  Mark those words – “adulterous and sinful generation” – because these words help us to see the conflict as it actually is. The words of Jesus – in their totality and in their true meaning and scope – will never be esteemed by an adulterous and sinful world. They are worlds apart.

You see this conflict in John 3 when Jesus said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:19) “[What] fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) “[What] partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

In contrast to the adulterous world, Jesus is the Holy One who speaks truth and bears witness to the truth, and in unwavering loyalty lays down his life for his bride. In contrast to the sinful world, Jesus is the Righteous One, the obedient Son, the spotless Lamb. The character and words of Jesus are diametrically opposed to the character and words of the world. And the implication is clear: when Jesus says “follow me”, he means that you must come out of the world's value system and cling to him, confess him, identify with him, and suffer with him.

Yet the temptation is to make yourself acceptable to the world. For the very large world of unbelievers, the world defines what is acceptable, desirable, and normative. And the world wants you to conform to its values, its rules, its definitions, its lies. The world doesn't want to be confronted by the holiness of God. The world doesn't want to reckon with its sinfulness. The world does not want to hear the truth – and they're not applauding those who proclaim it. And the rulers of this present world expect you to stay in line, and not rock the boat. When someone like John the Baptist comes along and calls out the sexual transgressions of a Herod, you know how the story goes. When someone like the prophet Jeremiah declares the word of the Lord to a disobedient people, they threw him into a muddy cistern. And what did they charge him with? Did they charge him with speaking the word of the Lord? No. They charged him with “not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm” (Jeremiah 38:4). They may slander you in similar fashion. Be glad and leap for joy on that day!

The world will make fun of you for not joining them in their debauchery, will marginalize you for not getting with the program, will punish you for threatening their welfare with the truth of God's word, will reject you for associating with him. And for many the cost seems too great.

But those who are ashamed of Jesus and his words will be exposed as great fools on the last day – because they will be condemned and put to shame by King Jesus, as the second half of verse 38 says: “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father” (italics added).

So verses 34-38 present us with the choice that everyone faces. Identify with Jesus and be shamed by the world, or identify with the world and be shamed by Jesus. Demonstrate love for the Lord Jesus Christ and be rejected by the world, or demonstrate love for the world and be rejected by the Lord Jesus Christ. Bear the disgrace that Jesus endured and win the crown, or choose the favor and friendship of the world and lose your soul forever. That is the choice.

You will pay a price. And the question is whether your eyes are opened to see clearly and choose wisely.

CHERISH JESUS IN THE MIDST OF THIS SINFUL WORLD 

Now I want to leave you with some application flowing out of this passage and urge us to cherish Jesus and his words as more precious and valuable than anything else.

Jesus is the Embodiment of Truth

We cherish Jesus as the embodiment of truth. He is the truth (John 14:6) and he bears witness to the truth (John 18:37) in a world of shifting ideas and sinking sand. We believe that in him there is transcendent, objective, unchanging, immovable truth.

We cherish Jesus as the chief revealer of this eternal and immovable truth. Jesus prayed to his Father: “your word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, whom he would send from the Father, that he is “the Spirit of truth” (John 15:26). And Jesus himself is the radiance of his Father, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Jesus is the One and Only Savior

We cherish Jesus as the one and only way to be reconciled to the Father. Which means we recognize that human beings are not okay. We are exceedingly sinful. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked. And in our rebellion we abide under the wrath of God. We are alive to self, alive to sin, and alive to the world, but dead to God. But God, in His great mercy, has provided a remedy. “Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1), Jesus said. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the one and only way to true life – the true life that is found in fellowship with the Father. Unlike the world that loves to scapegoat others in order to protect their own little turf, Jesus took responsibility for our sin and willingly suffered the consequences of our rebellion. His loving sacrifice is of infinite value and his blood can wash away our sins. The people of the world will go on finger-pointing, blame-shifting, shaming, and weaponizing guilt against one another, until they rest in the guilt-removing wounds of the Crucified One. We praise the Lamb who was slain for the sins of his people!

Jesus is the Sovereign Lord

We cherish Jesus as the risen Lord who has a rightful claim on all peoples, tribes and nations. Jesus is seated at the Father's right hand – in the position of sovereignty and authority over the entire universe. Abraham Kuyper was right when he said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over, all does not cry ‘Mine!’” The notion of a neutral public square is a tragic myth. Satan wants it all for himself. But Jesus is the rightful owner of it all. The would-be disciple is summoned to die to all other masters and to follow Christ in the public eye: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Jesus is the All-Wise Source and Upholder of the Objective Moral Order

Last but not least, we cherish Jesus as the all-wise source of the transcendent, objective, and unchanging moral order of the universe. And the way the winds are blowing, this is going to get us – and you – into hot water. Your self-denial, cross-bearing, and loyalty to Jesus will be tested.

The reality is that Jesus is the Word through whom all things were made (John 1:1-3). When the Father, through his Son, made the world, they established a moral fabric for human life, for human flourishing, for holy love, for the joy of fellowship. Many years ago I heard an analogy that I have not forgotten: The moral law of God is like the physical law of gravity – you cannot break it, you can only break yourself against it. Most men are sufficiently self-aware to honor the law of gravity most of the time. But the same cannot be said about their attitude toward the moral law.

And you need to understand that Jesus the Messiah is the upholder of his Father's moral law. When he refers to “my words” in Mark 8:38, we must understand that Jesus’ actual words recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are co-extensive with all the words of Holy Scripture. In fact, Jesus’ words affirm the complete truthfulness of the Old Testament (for example, see Matthew 5:17-20), and Jesus stands behind the Holy-Spirit-inspired words of the New Testament (for example, see John 16:12-15). The Old Testament envisions the Messiah as one who would embody righteousness, establish righteousness, and proclaim righteousness (Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-9, 42:1-7, 61:1-3). Furthermore, He died as the atoning sacrifice for sinners precisely because sinners have violated God's righteousness – God's moral order (Isaiah 53:4-12). Jesus’ atoning death upholds the moral order.

The gospel of Jesus’ death for mankind is not about some sentimental vision to bring a vague healing and inspiration to an undefined brokenness to hurting people. That makes for great platitude, by the way, but that is not the gospel. The gospel is about the blood of Jesus reconciling hostile sinners to a holy God, and thus turning sinners into beloved sons and daughters. And this same gospel rescue sinners out of moral bankruptcy and begins to restore them in moral beauty. When the Apostle Paul described what it means to learn and embrace Christ in Ephesians 4, he said that it involves “[putting] on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). And as you go into Ephesians 5, we learn that sexual morality and sexual purity is a significant part of that righteousness and holiness (see Ephesians 5:3-12).

In terms of Mark 8:34-38, dying to yourself means, among other things, turning away from the sin and the sin patterns and the sin preferences of the adulterous and sinful world in which you find yourself. And what I want you to understand is that it is going to be costly to do this – it is going to be costly to confess the true righteousness and holiness that Jesus died to uphold.

It Will Be Costly to Confess God’s Righteousness in These Sinful Times

It is going to be costly to confess God’s righteousness and to live it in these times. But that is where we're at.

It will be costly to confess that marriage, a holy ordinance established by God, is the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-25).

It will be costly to confess that God is the Creator of every human being, that he created every human being male or female (Genesis 1:26-28), that there are only two biological sexes, that each human being is duty-bound to live faithfully in accordance with his or her God-given sex, and that personal pronouns should reflect the same.

I trust you understand that I am not mentioning this to trivialize the fact that some human beings struggle profoundly with their issue of personal and sexual identity. In truth, all human beings are sinners. All human beings are, to some degree, sexually broken. All sinners are, to some degree, struggling with misplaced identities – and some profoundly so. There are those who are deeply hurt, who have been sinned against and have added to that their own poor choices. Like Jesus, we want to be tender-hearted, compassionate, patient, and kind, and to also be truthful as we are ministering to those who are struggling. But our tender-hearted Jesus never violated the moral law of his Father. In fact, he says some difficult and very relevant words in Chapter 9: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

You see, the reason I'm bringing this issue up is because our society has shifted into high gear on normalizing, celebrating, and promoting LGBTQ+ ideology. And there is nothing theoretical about it. It is showing up everywhere – in company policies, in the field of medicine, in laws and in lawsuits, in rules and regulations, in Supreme Court decisions, in libraries (as in the Drag Queen Story Hour), in school curriculum, in resources for children, in bathrooms, in high school athletic contests. It is ubiquitous. And it is corrupting and destroying an entire generation. I just recently read a piece from a respected theologian who said that he was interacting with a pastor friend who is trying to figure out how to counsel parents whose public-school-attending daughters will not hydrate themselves in the morning for fear of having to use the bathroom during the school day.[3]

And it's not just about their effort to normalize, celebrate, and promote their ideology. It is also about demanding that you submit, that you bow the knee, that you participate in their agenda. Religious liberty and conscience protections are fast going out of style. It is highly probable that some of you will face very costly decisions in your place of employment. For those who refuse to bow the knee before this 21st century version of Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue, you will be marginalized, ostracized, slandered, despised, sued, fired, expelled, and legally punished.

Just ask Peter Fleming, a public school teacher who was fired for refusing to use a transitioned student’s preferred pronouns. He said, “I can't refer to a female as a male and male as a female in good conscience and faith.”[4] From a biblical perspective, that man is simply sane. Two plus two equals four. Squares are not circles. The law of gravity is still in effect. Men are men and women are women.

Or ask Jack Phillips, a cakeshop owner who found himself in legal trouble after refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple.[5] Do you really think it is okay for you to use your skills to adorn, beautify, celebrate something that God prohibits?

Or ask Ryan T. Anderson, a respected public intellectual whose book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment was recently de-listed from our ‘good friends’ over at Amazon dot com.[6]

How does this relate to Mark 8? It is very simple: if what you really want to do is save your neck in this cutthroat world, to safeguard your respectability, to protect your livelihood, to preserve your status, to hold on to your position, then you are going to bail.

A Cautionary Tale

You are going to bail – like Bethany Christian Services, the largest evangelical adoption agency in the country which held to a biblical view of morality for many years, but recently abandoned it and “will now place children with openly gay and transgender couples.”[7]

Joe Carter, a Christian writer who reflected on this situation asked the question, “Why did Bethany [Christian Services] give up so easily?” And he said, “Perhaps because it knew Christians wouldn't care.”[8]

You see, Bethany Christian Services commissioned a survey and in that survey they “found that 76 percent of self-identified Christians agreed, at least somewhat, that it would be better for Christian agencies to comply with government requirements affecting LGBTQ people than to shut down.”[9]

And then Joe Carter says, “This is becoming an unfortunate pattern among Christians in America today. We are willing to stand by our convictions until it becomes costly.”[10]

FIX YOUR EYES ON THE LORD 

Well folks, this whole issue will be costly, but only for a little while. You must learn where the true glory is. In Mark 8:31, Jesus is rejected by the cultural elites and subjected to the shame of the cross. But in Mark 8:38, He is the one who comes in the glory of his Father. Jesus is rejected by men, but glorified by the Father; condemned by men, but vindicated by the Father; shamed by men, but highly honored by the Father. And he says to us, Come, lay down your life, and follow me.

And trust me, when you stand before the Lord on the final day, you will not give a rip about what the cultural elites think of you, or what the HR department thinks of you, or what society at large thinks of you, or what your family, friends, and neighbors think of you. In that moment, when you arestanding before the Lord Jesus Christ, the only thing that will matter is what he thinks of you.

Did you find Jesus inconvenient? Did you find him an impediment? Did you find him nice enough, but not worth losing your life for, not worth wrecking your career for? If so, Jesus will be ashamed of you and reject you.

But if you find Jesus worthy of your single-minded devotion and his words worthy of your whole-hearted trust, then he will honor you and welcome you into glory.

Friend, being on the right side of history as defined by the world is of no concern to the Christian. The only thing that matters is being found on the right side of Jesus.

I invite you to stand while I pray: 

Father, I pray for all of us, including myself – I pray that we would have the strength and the courage to stand firm, to stand firm in the gospel, to stand firm in the grace of God, to stand firm in sound doctrine, to not be ashamed of Jesus, but to publicly identify with him and represent him faithfully. Father, strengthen your church. And I pray now that you would dismiss us with your benediction – May the love of God the Father, and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit be with all of God’s people. Amen.

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Eckhard J. Schnabel, Mark (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries Vol. 2). Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2017: p. 203.

[2] From “I’ll Fly Away” by Albert E. Brumley. 

[3] See Carl R. Trueman, “A New Pastoral Problem.” Published online by First Things: March 2, 2021. Available online: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2021/03/a-new-pastoral-problem

[4] Quoted in Monica Burke, “This Teacher Was Fired for ‘Misgendering’ a Student. Who Could Be Next?” Published online by The Daily Signal: December 10, 2018. Available online: https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/12/10/this-teacher-was-fired-for-misgendering-a-student-who-could-be-next/

[5] See “Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission” on Wikipedia. Available online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece_Cakeshop_v._Colorado_Civil_Rights_Commission

[6] See “Statement on Amazon and the Delisting of ‘When Harry Became Sally’ (Updated 3.12.2021).” Published online by Encounter Books: February 22, 2021. Available online.      https://www.encounterbooks.com/features/statement-on-amazon/

[7] Joe Carter, “Largest U.S. Evangelical Adoption Agency Waves the Rainbow Flag.” Published online by The Gospel Coalition: March 4, 2021. Available online: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/largest-evangelical-adoption-agency/

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Mark (The Pillar New Testament Commentary). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark (The New International Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974.

Eckhard J. Schnabel, Mark (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries Vol. 2). Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2017.

James W. Voelz, Mark 1:1–8:26 (Concordia Commentary). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2013.

Ben Witherington III, The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.

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