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Weekly Bible Reflection
Mark's Alternative Economy


Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Text:
Mark 8. 27-38 "What's the cost? "

Begin by using the Bible Study method as outlined
Sharing Together:

Think quietly for a few moments about a group, charity or social club of which you are, or have been, a member.

  • Who or what made you want to join - a charismatic leader … a purpose which was important to you … or … ?
  • Did you ever find yourself disagreeing with a decision of the group or its committee? What was the cause?

Share these reflections with someone else.

A Window on the Text

The first three verses might suggest that Jesus is giving his disciples a SATS test on the term’s work. First, he softens them up, with an easy question: “Who do people say I am?” then the direct, inescapable, personal one: “Who do you say I am?”

Clearly, ‘the people’ having sensed the remarkable nature of Jesus’ life and ministry are looking for parallels. It was expected that Elijah would return to earth, but not John the Baptist, so recently beheaded (Chap 6).

Peter’s reply is often seen as remarkable for someone so given to misinterpreting events. But John tells us that he and his brother Andrew had been aware, from the very first encounter with Jesus, that they had ‘found the Son of God – the Messiah” (John 1.41).

Having completed the test, Jesus moves on to the next lesson.

The Son of Man is destined to be killed and after three days to rise again. This is incomprehensible to Peter despite the long tradition of prophets being put to death (Matt 23.37). We, with the benefit of hindsight, may make the connection between Jesus’ suffering and that foretold by Isaiah of God’s Suffering Servant. But Peter doesn’t have that understanding and protests strongly. Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message, implies that the whole community of disciples start to have doubts: ‘Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost!”’

This confrontation prompts Jesus to call the crowd to join in the lesson, as he says to them:

  1. You will have to give up your personal agenda if you intend to follow me(v34);
  2. There will be a cost: “Take up your cross” (NIV), or “Don’t run away from suffering” (The Message);
  3. But it will be life changing and the most important thing you ever do, quite priceless (v25-37);
If that seems rather strange, remember that your ways are not God’s ways (v33).
Responding as a community

Consider these two questions, as individuals and as a community:

  1. What has been the cost to you of being a Christian?

  2. What have you gained?
Praying Together

One or more of these resources might be used:

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star:
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent;
leaned Me against the tree to die, and rent
by ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
and pierced are the feet that follow Me:
but thine are whole. Can he have followed far
who has no wounds, no scar?

From prayer that asks that I may be
sheltered from winds that beat on Thee;
form fearing when I should aspire;
from faltering when I should climb higher;
from silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow thee.

From subtle love of softening things;
from easy choices, weakenings,
not thus are spirits fortified;
not this way went the Crucified.
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
the faith that nothing can dismay,
the hope no disappointment tire,
the passion that will burn like fire.
Let me not ink to be a clod;
make me Thy fuel, flame of God.

Amy Carmichael
Celtic Daily Prayer p693, 694

The meditation, ‘Jesus said, “I am the Way”’ might also be used, with a Kyrie sung as a response. See Present on Earth, published by Wild Goose Worship Group, (p 34).

Mark's Alternative Economy - Discussion

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