Scriptures for March 8th – Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38
Our theme for this Lenten seasons are the promises of God and the requirements of discipleship. Genesis talks about the second promise that God made to mankind that the entire world would be blessed through the blessings of Abraham. Paul picks up that promise and points out that Abraham is the faith father of all believers. But that this promise was fulfilled through Abraham’s faithfulness, not just because God loved him. When we are faithful disciples then we enter into family of Abraham, thus the family of God. Paul wants us to understand that we all have a right be to included in the family.
Jesus is painting a very scary picture of what it means to be a disciple. It is way too much for Peter to understand. God wants us to be happy, not suffer. Being the messiah is about victory, not about a painful death. Jesus is taking the messianic secret a step further to include what will happen to him in Jerusalem. Jesus starts to call himself the Son of Man. He has being praying to God for a long time to understand the fulfillment of his life. God has made it clear what he must do, and he is ready to accept the challenge. The crowds still gather to hear from Jesus, who is teaching the distinction between human and divine understanding. We as humans will preserve our lives in any way – God says that in order to gain true life, you have to be willing to give up the one you have.
In old times, in order to accept a covenant, you changed your name. In older baptism practice that was the point of naming a child at this time. How do we acknowledge and accept God’s promise for our lives today? What does it really mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus? How do we become sons and daughters of Abraham today?