I love to read and study the words of God. The Bible is such a wonderful gift from God for us to know Him better. I recently preached on the subject of “what it means to follow Christ” from Mark 8:27-38. I wanted to share some exegetical highlights from that text. The problem with a lot of preaching today is we have a tendency to take things out of context. Reading before and after a verse helps you stay in the context of the passage. I want to share some highlights of the outline from the text to illustrate:
- Jesus asked the question “who do you say that I am?” We can start by using this to ask the audience, who Jesus really is to them. Also, not what they say He is to them but who He really is to them by their lifestyle.
- Peter’s rebuke of Jesus. He did not want Jesus to die because Peter was thinking worldly. He wanted an earthly king.
- Jesus rebuked Peter. Why? Because it was God’s sovereign will that He die on the cross. Peter needed to think biblically. We all do, for that matter. How many times are we more concerned about the secular than the spiritual?
- Jesus gave the principals for following him: deny yourself, pick up the cross, and follow me. First, we cannot think more of ourselves than Christ. Second, we must carry the cross. Metaphorically speaking, we may have burdens in our Christian life. Third, we are to follow Him. His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.
- What can possibly be worth giving up eternity for in this world? That’s the question of vs. 36,37.
The overall point of the text is are we willing to do and go wherever God wants us to go? Are we willing to give it all up for the mission of God, whatever that is. It doesn’t mean all believers should sell all they have to go but the point is are we willing to go? You can be a great follower of Christ in your local, rural church. You can minister the gospel to those right there around you. Are you willing to do that?