Daily Archives: Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

What do you mean by ‘must’, Jesus? (Lent 2B, 25 February 2018)

Mark 8.31–38

Everyone suffers. Some will attempt to flee. Those who are willing to interpret their necessary suffering as the spiritual task of relinquishment, who are willing to lose their lives (as they have made them) for Jesus’ sake, will receive a new, better, and—dare we say—resurrected life. The way through suffering is the way taken by any who would become a follower of Jesus. — Thomas R Steagald, (Homiletical Perspective, Mark 8.34–9.1), Feasting on the Gospels: Mark, Kindle edition, loc. 8920


Last week, we read that Jesus started his ministry in Galilee after John the Baptist was arrested. Well, trouble wasn’t only blowing up for John. It was blowing up for Jesus too. If you read Mark from the beginning (two chapters a days takes you just over a week!), you’ll see Jesus

  • preaches the good news of the kingdom of God coming near;
  • heals the sick, and delivers those bound by evil;
  • angers the authorities;
  • feeds 5000 with some bread rolls and a few fish;
  • is thought to be mad by his own family;
  • angers the authorities;
  • stills a storm on Galilee;
  • teaches using parables.

Oh, and did I mention that he angers the authorities?

And so we come to today’s Gospel Reading, which shows that Jesus really was heading into trouble with the authorities:

Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: ‘The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law.…’

‘The Son of Man must suffer…’ What do you mean by ‘must’, Jesus?

We heard last week that the Spirit ‘drove’ Jesus into the Judean wilderness. Is it God who is now making sure that Jesus ‘must’ suffer? Is Jesus a pawn in the hands of forces bigger than himself?

(If you play chess, you know what happens to pawns. They get sacrificed.)

What does ‘must’ mean?

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