Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "A Stunning Prediction"


1. Initial Passion Prediction (8:31-33)

Jesus speaks plainly and explicitly about his mission as the messiah, who must suffer. He uses the title "Son of man" to identify himself with the figure of Daniel 7, who has everlasting dominion and who is the ruler of God's kingdom (cf. Dan 7:13-14). However, Jesus also paradoxically identifies himself not only as the transcendent figure of Daniel 7, but also the Suffering Servant of Isaiah (cf. Isa 52-53). As the Son of Man, he predicts that it is necessary to suffer, to be rejected, and to die. Nevertheless, he will rise again triumphantly from the dead. This unexpected description of the messianic mission causes Peter (who just confessed Jesus' messiahship in 8:29) to confront Jesus. His misunderstanding of the central mission of Christ shows his need to further understand the purpose of Christ's ministry, and subsequently, what this entails for a life of discipleship.

2. Call to discipleship (8:34-9:1)

In the remainder of this section, Jesus gives three descriptions for the call to discipleship, followed by four reasons for these exhortations. First, the descriptions for the call to discipleship are as follows: (1) Let him deny himself, (2) Take up his cross, and (3) Follow me. The life of discipleship is a call to sacrificial living modeled after the cross and suffering of Christ. Secondly, there are four reasons (signaled by the word "for"), which are given in order to support this radical call for sacrificial living (i.e., discipleship): (1) those who desire to save their life will lose it, but those who lose their life for the sake of Christ and the gospel will be saved (v35), (2) if a person even forfeits their own life in order to obtain everything, they gain nothing (v36), (3) a person cannot give anything in exchange for their own life (v37), and (4) those who are ashamed of Jesus will also be ashamed of him when he comes in glory (v38). Closing this section is the stunning statement that even some in his midst would see the kingdom of God (9:1).


Discussion Questions:

1. What does it mean to deny yourself, take up your cross, and to follow after Jesus? In other words, how does Jesus' sacrificial life provide the paradigm for the lifestyle of his disciples? What would it look like for you to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow after Jesus in your present circumstances?

2. What were the four reasons Mark gave in order to support the call for discipleship? Did any of them stand out to you as particularly challenging? Why?

3. In this passage, Jesus is described as both the transcendent Son of Man from Daniel as well as the suffering servant from Isaiah. What does this tell us about Jesus? How does this affect our view of discipleship? How does this truth about Jesus affect our evangelistic efforts?