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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2014
(Part 24)

JESUS AND THE GOSPEL

February 21, 2014
Today’s gospel: Mark 8:34-9:1


The proclamation of the gospel is of prime importance. First, Jesus equates himself with the gospel, as he speaks of our proper posture “for my sake and that of the gospel” (v.8:35). Jesus is the gospel. Jesus is the good news. When we proclaim this good news, we proclaim Jesus.

Second, how we respond to the call to proclaim the gospel will determine our eternal future. “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (v.8:38). We live in a faithless and sinful generation that ridicules faith. But we are precisely called to be counter-cultural, to boldly proclaim the gospel to a world that sorely needs to hear it. If we are ashamed, or afraid, or preoccupied with lesser things, then Jesus will also not recognize us at the final judgment.

Many live their lives on earth trying to enjoy life to the full. This actually has led many to abandon their faith. Then what they believe to be life turns out to be death. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” (v.8:35). The more we hold on to our life, the more it slips out of our hands. What we need to do is to let go and to let God. We deny ourselves, we empty ourselves, we disdain our lives, then God can take hold of our lives and allow us to live them really to the full.

How? “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (v.8:34b). We are to be a servant, denying self for the sake of the Master. We are to be a soldier, plunging into battle under the banner of the cross. We are to be a son (or a daughter), following our brother Jesus all the way home to the Father. In serving the Master we are to witness to Jesus. In being a soldier we are off to mission and war. In being a son we are called to holiness as a true child of a holy God. We are martyrs, we are warriors, we are saints.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.” (v.9:1). Let us be counted among those. Let us not pass on from this life without participating in the coming of the Kingdom of God in our midst. We are already empowered to witness. Let us deny ourselves in accepting every sacrifice, let us follow Jesus all the way to the cross, let us witness to Jesus and the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

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