April 01, 2010

The Cross Lies Ahead

Mark 8:31-38

The Son of Man must suffer many things and …be killed.
Mark 8:31


Imagine a baby with an angel-given name meaning “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus grew up with the divine assignment that his name declares.

Mark’s gospel shows that Jesus was clear with his disciples about the destination of his path to Jerusalem. He was going to death. His prediction of his suffering in Mark 8:31 is repeated in Mark 9:31, and again in Mark 10:33, like three blows of a judge’s gavel: “The sentence is death!”

Jesus took the road leading to the cross not because it was easy but because it was the world’s only hope. The road he traveled promised cruel treatment, prolonged suffering, and lonely, undeserved death. This path was neither understood nor encouraged by his followers.

This day before Good Friday quietly turns our attention to the cross. Let us focus our thoughts on what tomorrow brings. Tomorrow we see displayed the greatest outpouring of suffering love, the heart of the good news, and the essence of the Christian faith. Everything flows from the cross. For Jesus to bypass the cross would mean all our hope for eternity is lost. For him to go and die there means for us inestimable gain.

Take some time today to ponder this essential element of Christian faith. We couldn’t have life without it!

Lord Jesus, thank you for setting your life’s course unswervingly to Calvary. Holy Spirit, help us to pause and reflect on all that our Lord did for us there, and why. Amen.

About the author — John Rozeboom

Rev. John Rozeboom is a retired pastor of the Christian Reformed Church and a former director of Christian Reformed Home Missions. Currently he is coaching and supporting elders, ministers, and a congregation in mission. John and Linda Rozeboom live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they have two married children and five grandchildren.

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