Life can bring times of joy, happiness and success. However, we would be remiss to think that disappointment in times of despair are not part of life's journey. For the Christian our journey is to the cross of Jesus Christ which brings in a season of reflection, prayer and fasting as we anticipate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Turning towards the cross can be a difficult thing to do. The disciples were enjoying fame and notoriety because Jesus was the current day "rock star". Signs, wonders, and miracles were occurring on a fast-paced daily basis. The disciples could do no wrong as long as Jesus was at the helm. But life is not continuous with success. Success can be met with disappointment.
Jesus makes a turn for Jerusalem as the disciples struggled to embrace this change. God's mission for Jesus was to go to the cross -- that in His death, He was able to fulfill the messianic mission, which is the hallmark of the Christian faith. Success for the Christian is not fame or fortune or prosperity or easy living, but the coming Kingdom of heaven. Our struggle with God is defined in Mark chapter 8 when Jesus begins to recite the hard sayings that the disciples would struggle with until the empowerment came at Pentecost. Because the cross is the ultimate struggle of man against God, we refuse it. Jesus recites four difficult passages, but when we embrace them, they can change our lives forever. “If anyone would come after Me, he must take up his cross and follow Me! "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it!" "What profit is it for a man to gain the world and lose his soul!” And finally, "If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us."
Will you follow Jesus to the cross? Will you embrace these hard sayings of Jesus? I trust we will all take a moment to embrace this special time, called the Lenten season, where we focus on prayer, fasting, and giving of our time to meet our destination, Calvary!