The Ugly Truth of Discipleship
“Son of Man . . . suffer . . . rejected . . . killed . . . raised.” Mark 8:31
Every friendship has stages. Connection grows, evolves, matures, becoming stronger and deeper over time. The same is true with our friendship with Jesus. It’s through the passages of time that faith is deepened, enriched and stabilized. To overlook this process is to deny what is required to become a fully devoted disciple.
Up to this time, Jesus had been letting the revelation of His identity work its way into the hearts and minds of the disciples. They now believed and were convinced He was indeed the Christ. Jesus had withheld the news of His death until they were confident of who He was. He knew there would be no point in speaking of His sufferings until they believed in Him. Their friendship with Him could not have handled the weight of such insight.
During their travels with Jesus, they had believed He was a teacher, a prophet, a rabbi, and a miracle worker. And He said nothing to them about His sufferings. They had been amazed by His teaching, astonished by His miracles and awed by His power. Still, He mentioned nothing of Calvary. Once their confession of Him as Christ was voiced, then, and not before, He began to frequently teach them of His suffering, rejection, crucifixion and resurrection.
The same is true for us. In our journey with Jesus, we must first know the Son of Man before the mission makes sense. Christ’s divinity is the explanation of His death. We perceive that because He is God, He died as an atonement for sin, that He came to reconcile God and man.
Jesus has to make one ready to hear the hard, ugly truth of discipleship. It’s difficult to take part in the suffering of the Savior, submit ourselves and thankfully share in the trials of the cross. Jesus lets us know that, what He went through, we will go through. We will suffer, be opposed, experience loss and will share in living in the resurrection. The deeper our friendship with Jesus, the more of His cross we will share.
“Help me to rid myself of my pride, my unbelief and impatience, which makes me overlook the cross.”