IV. Away from Galilee and into Judea

(Mark 6:30-10:52)

Activity 1: Who was the best teacher you have ever had, and what made him or her the best teacher?

How is serving and leading similar and different? What makes someone a good server and what makes someone a good leader? What kind of leader do you want to follow?

 

The Way of the Cross

Chapter 8

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[k] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

To be a true disciple of Jesus, we must accept Jesus’s fate also. Our savior and lord is also a victim and victor. “We suffer and die with Christ so that we may also live with him,” said Apostle Paul (Romans 6:8, paraphrased). What is our cross? Our cross is people whom we do not want to associate with because they have hurt us. Our cross is an honest job that we do grudgingly because everything about it makes us feel bad. Our cross is schoolwork that we do half-heartedly because we missed the point of learning—to serve others better. Our cross is holding on to the dreams long unfulfilled and promises of God long unanswered. When we die to ourselves we stop thinking we deserve things, but we start thinking that we do not deserve any good things, yet good things have been given to us by God’s grace.

 

Activity 2: How can you tell that you have grown up? In what ways have you changed since 1st grade or 10 years ago?

 

The Little Children and Jesus

Chapter 10

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Compare this to Jesus’s calling of the disciples—how he chose his men who were not his contemporary teachers’ first pick as disciples. Also remember how Jesus’s disciples followed him immediately—without questions and innocently.

 

The Rich and the Kingdom of God (see the comment on “the request of James and John”)

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[s]

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[t] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

 

Activity 3: Suppose there are just you and another person alive on earth. Then, what kind of person would you want to be for as long as you live?

 

The Request of James and John

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

To be a disciple means to seek out opportunities to serve others. Even the son of God came down in human flesh to serve the sick, discouraged, outcast, and fallen. In a society where education and job training is valued more than anything in many households, it is nearly impossible to seek out opportunities to serve others’ immediate needs. As our resumes get richer and richer with more education and professional experience, it becomes harder and harder to see and enter the Kingdom of God. This is probably what Jesus meant by the rich man’s struggle to enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, Jesus said, so it often begins small and seems insignificant to many. Yet, as we nurture the seed and serve its needs, we begin to see the path to the future where it yields many fruits. God has given us the seed—our talents, interests, and passions. We can put up with so much at school, work, and home for the Kingdom of God because though it is impossible with man to persevere for so long, it is possible with God. To sit at Jesus’s right or left, we must also be crucified at his right or left.