Mark's 'Life and Ministry' of Jesus Christ. (Mark 8:31-9:1)
Jesus knew that He would suffer. He planned His life to make sure He was in the right place at the right time. He did not enjoy the suffering but He endured it in order to obey His Father’s will. People of every age have tried to explain away the sufferings of Jesus. Their objections range from men writing things after the events, to building a good story, to God making a mistake and under-estimating what man would do.
Isaiah prophesied: ‘It was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer’ (53:10). Jesus believed this and did not shrink away from all it entailed.
The unfolding of His suffering.
In Mark 8:31 Jesus begins to teach His followers what He knows about His
sufferings. Isaiah has told us the suffering was planned by God.
Leviticus 17:11 explains that the shedding of blood is the provision of God
for man’s sin. John 1:29 shows us the purpose of God: ‘The Lamb of God
Who takes away the sin of the world.’ The events that led up to Jesus’
death were no mistake, but rather a miracle of God attributable to His
plan and purpose.
The ugliness of His suffering
Jesus gradually builds on His teaching about suffering to the disciples
(8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34). There was betrayal, as He was let down by those
He loved. He was given away by those to whom He had given Himself.
There was condemnation. They said He had spoken against God, when in
fact He was God speaking. They said He deserved to die, when He was the
only One present Who deserved to live. Jesus predicted the physical and
mental pain; the spoken words used to slash open His heart; the human
strength used to lacerate His back. But while they showed contempt and
spat on Him, He showed compassion and suffered for them.
Jesus spoke of His death. The horrible hanging death of crucifixion was
among the worst the barbarous Romans were capable of. The human
weight on spiked hands and feet, the excruciating pain of breathing in
such a position, the agony of a broken body added to the broken heart.
Jesus suffered for the people He loved.
The uniqueness of His suffering
Of course there were many who suffered such a death at the hands of
the Romans, so what makes of death of Jesus so special? Jesus Christ
was the Son of God. Mark begins in 1:1 and concludes in 15:39 with
references to this truth. God as a man. God in a man. God made flesh
and living among us. Jesus Christ was also the Son of Man. He was made
like us, tempted like us, in every way human like us, so that He could be
our Substitute before God when the time came for judgement on sin.
Paul puts in beautifully in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: ‘For there is one God and one
Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself
as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time.’ Jesus
Christ is the only Mediator between you and God. Jesus Christ is the only
One who paid the ransom for you. Jesus Christ is the one and only way
for you to come alive in God.
The understanding of His suffering
Up to this point we have omitted one great fact also predicted: ‘After
three days He will rise again’ (8:31; 9:31; 10:34). Death was not the end of
Jesus – the grave was not His goal. His goal was glory, but He knew there
could be no resurrection without death first. God demonstrated His love
for us in Christ’s death. God delivered Him from death and declared Him
to be the Son of God with power.
The unrepeatable offer
In Mark 8:34-37 everyone is urged
to come after Jesus
to cut loose from the world,
to carry their cross (whatever it may be), and
to commit everything, for always, to Jesus Christ.
Are you with Him or are you against Him?
Discussion guide for ‘Jesus taught the sufferings of the Son of Man’
Bible reading Mark 8:31-9:1
1. Why is Isaiah 53:10 (and other Old Testament verses like
Psalm 22:1) so significant in the life and death of Jesus?
2. Read, immediately following one another, Mark 1:1; 1:15; 8:31.
Why do you think Peter, and the other disciples probably, did not
understand nor want to hear this, 8:31?
3. In just ten minutes, read Mark 8:31; 9:12; 9:30-32; 10:32-34; and
their fulfilment in Mark 14:43-15:47.
As you quietly do this, ask God to show you the meaning and the
depth of Jesus’ suffering on the cross.
4. What is the significance of the centurion’s words after witnessing
Jesus’ terrible suffering, Mark 15:39?
Perhaps the first man into the kingdom of God, through the torn
temple veil, was a Gentile soldier!
5. If we were alive then, and heard these grim predictions by Jesus,
how should we have known that death was not going to be the end
6. What does the suffering of Jesus mean to you today?
7. Are there things for you to pray about or ask Christian advice