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Faith Daily | 18 February 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 537


Let your merciful ears, O Lord,

be open to the prayers of your humble servants;

and that they may obtain their petitions

make them to ask such things as shall please you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 8:34 – 9:1


34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words* in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’


91And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with* power.’


GOSPEL REFLECTION: Jane Markotsis


To ‘take up your cross’ is to accept the death of self. Jesus taught that you have not truly lived until you have truly died. You cannot follow Jesus without dying to yourself. These are challenging concepts.


You may be aware that my father was an Anglican priest. In the decades before his passing, he gifted me with invaluable knowledge on how he had come to understand the teachings of Jesus. I particularly remember reading this passage with him one sunny, Saturday afternoon while he was preparing his sermon for the following morning.


The idea of dying to self wasn’t going to be easy for a nine-year-old to learn so he broke it down for me. Dad would generally have an acronym prepared for most things he taught me as he knew I’d remember those better, like the ‘ACTS’ model of prayer he blessed me with so that I would remember ‘how’ to pray. For this particular passage he gave me the three ‘D’s’. Desire, Denying, and Dying. Dad went on to explain what the three D’s meant.


To begin the process Jesus asks of us we must first have a desire to be a disciple of Jesus and follow him. Not just the desire you have for a hot chocolate on a cold, winters day, but a deliberate and conscious determination to learn, grow, and be like Jesus.


The second aspect of your discipleship deals with denying your self. This means that you must hand over your entire life to Jesus and allow Him total control of every aspect your very being. Jesus leads and you follow. Your focus is not your comfort, but His character…..not your happiness, but holiness…..Not your will, but His will. To deny yourself is to disown yourself.


The third aspect of discipleship is dying. Jesus says in verse 34 that if you are going to follow Me then you must “take up your cross.” But what does this mean?


To understand this part, we need to understand execution by crucifixion. In Jesus’ day a criminal who was to be crucified as a punishment for their crime would literally pick up and carry his cross knowing that he was walking to his death. To take up your cross was to be identified with the despised, rejected, doomed, and ridiculed of society. Thankfully, we don’t have crucifixion as a punishment in Australia, let alone the death penalty, but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.


Before you can truly experience who Jesus was and is you must experience what it means to take up your own cross and follow Him. The three D’s have stuck with me for 34 years. It’s interesting I should be asked to write a reflection on the 34th verse of Mark chapter 8.


FINAL PRAYER: TiS 583


‘Take up your cross,’ the Saviour said,

‘if you would my disciple be;

take up your cross with willing heart

and humbly follow after me.’

Amen

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