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Studies in Mark - Part 40

"The Suffering And Then The Glory"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2008 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Now I want you to turn with me again to Mark's gospel chapter 8, where we left off last week - therefore beginning at verse 27. Now we're going to read quite a considerable portion of Scripture this morning, right through to chapter 9 verse 13 - so chapter 8, beginning to read at verse 27, right through to chapter 9 verse 13. My title is: 'The Suffering And Then The Glory'.

We might gasp an 'At last! Wonderful! They're beginning to see the true identity of our Lord Jesus Christ' - but hold on a moment: this is still only a partial understanding of our Lord's identity...

So verse 27 of chapter 8: "And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias", or Elijah, "and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels".

"And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elijah with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elijah must first come? And he answered and told them, Elijah verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. But I say unto you, That Elijah is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him".

Now let me just remind you where we have come from in recent days to reach this point at chapter 8 and verse 27. The Lord Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish, and then we saw a similar miracle that our Lord performed, the feeding of the 4000 with seven loaves and a few fish. We saw that the message of the feeding of the 4000 was that they didn't get the message of the feeding of the 5000! We see from this chapter that our Lord - and we looked at it last week - said to them very directly in verses 18 to 20: 'Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?'. We saw that there was a twofold message seen at the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000, that the disciples hadn't got: one, the identity of the Lord Jesus, that He was God's Manna come down from heaven to feed the whole world; and therefore the second lesson was, His sufficiency - not only to feed the whole world in salvation, but also His sufficiency in our everyday lives to meet our need right where we have it in our own everyday experience.

One thing is certain: they hadn't understood the means by which the Lord Jesus Christ would become the sufficient Bread of God to the world...

So we saw last week that the passage we were looking at had to do with blindness. The Pharisees were blind concerning the identity of our Lord Jesus and His sufficiency. But there was blindness in different degrees: the Pharisees were the most blind because they had a wilful blindness that derived from the hardness of their hearts, but the disciples were also blind. They didn't understand it, but their blindness was an ignorant blindness because of the dullness of their heart. They weren't as blind as the Pharisees, but there wasn't enough light getting into their minds. This blindness, particularly of the disciples, was illustrated in the miracle that our Lord performed, this partial miracle of a blind man. We don't have time to look at it, you need to read these verses - verse 22 through to verse 26 - and Lord partially healed this man, and then He completely healed him - the only time that ever happened in a miracle. He used this to illustrate how often the disciples were blind to learn what the Lord would have them see clearly - and we saw the application for ourselves, that we too are found in this illustration of a miracle only completed in part. We too are so slow to learn, often, what the Lord is trying to teach us. We are blind to things He wants us to see clearly.

Now here in our reading, verses 27 right through I suppose to verse 29, is Peter's great confession 'Thou art the Christ' - it appears that the light is starting to get in. They are understanding a bit more of the identity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now of course we know that Peter's confession here, 'Thou art the Christ', came via a revelation from the Father. Matthew tells us in his account about that: 'Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven'. Now that being said, this revelation was not given apart from Peter's understanding - it was given to his mind and to his heart. We might gasp an 'At last! Wonderful! They're beginning to see the true identity of our Lord Jesus Christ' - but hold on a moment: this is still only a partial understanding of our Lord's identity.

Whilst they may have now found this great truth: 'Thou art the Christ' - Christ being 'Christos', 'Anointed One', 'the Messiah of Israel', and Matthew tells us they also confessed Him to be the Son of God - though they recognized that this was the divine Son come to be their Saviour, Messiah and Deliverer, had they recognized His sufficiency for the whole of mankind? To be the Saviour not just to the Jews, but to the whole world - and not only provide, potentially, universal salvation, but also provide for everyday needs that we face as children of God? Had they seen that? Well, one thing is certain: they hadn't understood the means by which the Lord Jesus Christ would become the sufficient Bread of God to the world.

This Bread from heaven sent by God, if it was going to feed the whole world, had to be given for the world. That's what we see the Lord trying to explain to them in verse 31: 'He began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again'. Now this is a very detailed explanation, an explicit account of what actually was going to happen. The Lord names the three groups in the Sanhedrin who would later officially examine Him: the elders, chief priests, scribes - they would reject Him, and then three days later He would rise again from the dead. But the blindness was still so strong in the disciples - their mouthpiece being Peter - that Peter openly rebuked the Lord for such a suggestion. In verse 32 he said openly these words, and Peter began to rebuke Him.

Now the word that is used for 'rebuke' there in verse 32 is the same word that Mark uses when he records the account of our Lord rebuking demons in chapter 1 and chapter 3 - a harsh, a strong word. Peter rebuking the Lord! We see very quickly the Lord responded by rebuke of Peter, and He indicts Peter with having been inspired by Satan himself in an attempt to deter Him from the cross. Now Peter was not possessed by the devil here, but certainly his mind was overtaken by the devil - that's interesting, even as we consider as Christians how the influence of the devil can be in our lives. Here we find from our Lord the harshest words ever spoken to one of His devoted followers: 'Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men'.

The Lord wants them to know that glory can only come from suffering, glory will only come the way of the cross. The suffering and then the glory!

He began to teach them that we too, not only He, but we too will have to take up our cross and follow Christ. We can't avoid it - little did Peter know that one day he would take up his own cross, literally. Then our Lord begins to teach them that glory - and oh, these disciples were looking glory, as we'll see, if God wills, in a future time when they're all arguing about who will be the greatest among them. The Lord wants them to know that glory can only come from suffering, glory will only come the way of the cross. The suffering and then the glory!

So come with me, and let's analyse what our Lord says to these disciples. First of all, let's look at Christ's cross - verses 27 to 33. Now the Lord selected this private place to be open, to be explicit about His death. Now He's been hinting at it along the way, hasn't He? But they haven't taken the hint, so He chooses Caesarea Philippi to divulge all this information to His disciples. Now that's not Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, this is Caesarea Philippi about 25 miles north of Bethsaida at the foot of Mount Hermon. It was named after Caesar Augustus and Herod Philip - and if you went there in these days you would have found a marble temple to honour Augustus, and there was also present the famous Temple of the great pagan god 'Pan'. It was a place known for its glory of the Roman Empire and the Roman gods, and it was a place that was filled with idolatry. I had the privilege of going to the ruins of Caesarea Philippi recently, and that was the thing that still strikes you: the remnant of pagan idolatry that is there. It's interesting that our Lord should have chosen such a place, such a context and backdrop, to Peter's great confession in verse 29: 'Thou art the Christ', as Matthew says, 'The Son of the Living God'.

Let's look first of all at Peter's confession: 'Thou art the Christ'. What Peter was saying was: 'You are not to be placed alongside others. You are unique. You are the Christ, the Anointed Messiah to deliver God's people, but You are the Son of God, You are the Saviour of the world'. Of course this answer, this confession was precipitated by the question of our Lord: 'What do you think about Me?'. What you - you - think about Christ is the most important thing about you. Christ divides opinions, He divides nations, He divides homes, He divides religions.

Now, we see that some thought - according to the reply given - that He was John the Baptist come back from the dead. Some thought He was Elijah, others thought He was one of the prophets. Matthew is more specific: some thought He was Jeremiah himself come back from the dead. Now the Lord Jesus was quite different from John the Baptist in looks and temperament, and of course John was more like Elijah than our Lord even was. Now the only similarity between them was that they preached the same message: repentance and the coming of the kingdom of God. Our Lord was, however, quite similar to Jeremiah the prophet - who, you remember, was known as 'Jeremiah, the weeping prophet'. Our Lord Jesus was the Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, but here is the main point: we have seen going through Mark's gospel that our Lord had already given ample evidence of who He was, His identity - that He was the Messiah, the Bread of God come down from heaven, the Son of God - yet they are still blind to His identity.

Now the citizens of Caesarea Philippi would have been used to saying: 'Caesar is Lord', and that might have identified them with being a loyal Roman citizen, but it would never have saved their soul. Here in the backdrop of this Roman idolatry and paganism our Lord was encouraging His disciples to confess Him as the only true Son of God, the only true Saviour and Messiah. We must beware today of the crowd's estimation of Christ, because it is only - I repeat - it is only the confession 'Jesus is Lord' that will save a man's soul. Coming from the Spirit of God, 'If thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved'.

In verse 30 He charged them that they should tell no man of this, of what He had just said. Now why was this? There are often different reasons why He tells people not to tell something, but here I believe the chief reason is that He was in fear that, now confessing Himself as the Messiah, He would create a political uprising that would prevent Him going to the cross, which was His reason for being here. This is what He is now revealing to them: that the Son of Man must go to the cross. So from this confession comes confusion, and in verse 31 there is all this detailed information as the Lord shares His heart about how He's going to die and rise again, that He must go to Jerusalem to the cross. We see - if you're familiar with Mark's gospel, you know from this point on in the narrative the Lord is journeying toward Jerusalem to die on the cross, and the whole emphasis of Mark's gospel now is on the cross - but these disciples are left nonplussed, completely confused, bamboozled. 'If we have now recognized You as Messiah, and You are Messiah; would Messiah not deliver us from our enemies, not be delivered to His enemies? Would He not establish His kingdom for Israel, not be destroyed by a foreign kingdom of oppressors, Rome?'.

Often Christians miss the fact that suffering must come before the glory. They recognize the Lord Jesus, but they don't want to recognize that method. They don't want a cross, they want the glory!

Now please, don't ever doubt that Peter loved the Lord - of course he loved the Lord, maybe with a passion that we don't know as yet - but it was Peter's misguided love for the Lord that took him outside the will of the Lord in his outburst. Now that's interesting, because we can have great love for the Lord but go in the wrong direction, or not discern the Lord's will and be fools. Warren Wiersbe puts it like this: 'One minute Peter was a rock, and the next he was a stumbling block'. Campbell Morgan put it like this: 'The man who loves Jesus but shuns God's method is a stumbling block to Him'. You see, you can love the Lord but not recognize His way of doing things, and you can actually be a stumbling block to His will - and in this particular context it was Peter and the disciples recognized that 'Thou art the Christ', but they didn't recognize His method of saving men was by dying, and three days later rising again.

Now we will see that often Christians miss the fact that suffering must come before the glory. They recognize the Lord Jesus, but they don't want to recognize that method. They don't want a cross, they want the glory! In verse 33 - note please - He looked at the disciples, and then He rebuked Peter, because the disciples were thinking exactly the same thing as Peter was. None of them had made this connection between suffering and glory, none of them. It was unthinkable that their Messiah should suffer and die. There was so much in the Old Testament prophets about the glory of Messiah and the kingdom of Messiah, why would He die? Now, can I say, and Warren Weirsbe says this and he's right, that the problem of Peter and the disciples here was not so much a theological problem, it was a practical problem. It was not a problem with the Scriptures, it was a problem with them. What am I talking about? Well, these were men, remember, who had left all to follow Christ, and whatever happened to Him might happen to them - do you see it?

Verse 34: 'And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them', the Lord summons the nearby crowds - many of whom, incidentally, were only following Him because of His miracles - and He taught them: 'No, there is a cost to true discipleship', a cost. So Christ's cross is now leading us to our cross, and so here we have it in verse 34: 'Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me'. Now there the Lord Jesus lays down three conditions for true discipleship: one, surrender - 'let him deny himself', that is passive, negative, 'throw down your arms', self-will, 'and surrender'. Two, 'take up his cross' - that's sacrifice, be willing to pay a price for Christ. Then three, 'follow me' - that's submission. Surrender was passive and negative, giving up to God; submission is positive, active, 'do the will of God'; obedience, 'follow me'.

'Deny himself', now can I just say that denying self is not the same as self-denial. I don't want to be pedantic, but self-denial is giving up something, isn't it? Giving up chocolate or something - but denying self is giving up you, giving up ourselves. Now what is being posed to us today in the 21st-century is: even though you recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and maybe as your Saviour through the cross, do you recognize that you have got a cross? You are to deny yourself, give up yourself - and I believe there is often a point in the Christian experience where you do this, and you do it once for all...but it needs to be repeated every day, the following day, and the day after that, and the day after that. That's why the Lord says we take up our cross daily and follow Him. Now this isn't for our benefit, though it is to our benefit, look what it says: 'this is for my sake and the gospel's'. In other words, we are to surrender, we are to sacrifice, we are to submit for Christ, for others - we're not to live for ourselves!

This is discipleship, and I think it has been lost to a large extent in the Christian church today. It is a matter of profit and losses, profit and losses - verse 35: 'Whosoever will save his life shall lose it', save your life, you lose it, 'but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it'. Profit and losses. So it's a question the Lord is asking here: whether we will invest our lives for the kingdom of God, or waste our lives on ourselves - that's what He's asking. Now remember He's speaking to men who have already confessed Him as Lord, He's speaking to men who have already confessed Him as Christ, He's speaking to men who have already been called - He's not telling them how to be saved from hell, He's telling them how to save their lives from waste! The Greek word for 'soul' here is the same word as 'life', 'psyche'  - verse 37, 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?', the word 'soul' is the word 'life', 'What shall a man give in exchange for his life?'. So losing your soul here - whilst we preach the Gospel so often from this, it's an application, it's not the correct interpretation - what the Lord is saying here is: 'You can, as a Christian, waste your life'. You see, you could have success in men's eyes, but that means nothing in God's eyes. What the Lord's saying here is: 'You could have a soul saved, and a life lost'.

It's not enough, all the whole world if you got that, it is not enough to buy a second chance with your life. You can't buy another life. You can't buy another opportunity to be a disciple and serve the Lord...

It's serious, isn't it? 'Even', the Lord says, 'if you gain the wealth the whole world' - do you know what that verse 37 means? After 36, 'What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?', verse 37, 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' - do you understand what that means? I hear Christians quoting this all the time, and I for years quoted it and never really understood what it means - it means it's not enough, all the whole world if you got that, it is not enough to buy a second chance with your life. You can't buy another life. You can't buy another opportunity to be a disciple and serve the Lord.

I came across a staggering illustration this week of this truth. 180 years after the death of Charlemagne, who was the king of the Franc empire, around the year 1000 AD, the officials of the subsequent Emperor Otto opened the great king's tomb, Charlemagne's tomb - and, apart from the amazing sight of all the wealth and riches that had been buried with him, all his treasure, what they saw as this - now picture this: it was his skeleton, the skeletal remains of the king, and he was seated on his throne! There was a crown still on his skull, but on his lap there was noted a copy of the Gospels - and his bony finger was resting on this verse: 'What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'.

Now the Lord Jesus says to you: 'You who want to follow me, salvation is by grace through faith alone' - we believe in the Lord Jesus and we're saved...but the Lord doesn't just want converts, He wants disciples. This is not a condition of salvation, but this is a condition of discipleship - and He wants all of us to take up our cross, He has led on from talking about His own, but there's another cross: yours. Are you taking it up? Now, we talk about taking up our cross, and we apply it to trials in our lives, don't we, and problems we're having? We've a bad boss, or a nagging wife, or a wayward son, or some kind of illness or ailment - that's not what the Lord is talking about. We should forget about that language - now that's not to say what you're going through is not purposed by God, of course it is, and it's a trial and a suffering and so on, I'm not demeaning that - but don't call it a cross. What the Lord is saying here is that crosses come as a consequence of walking in Christ's steps. To take up your cross means to deliberately choose a pathway of rejection, of suffering, of loneliness, of betrayal, of denial, of hatred, of insults, of persecution, of mental anguish - even death for Christ's sake, for Christ's and the Gospel's! That's what it means to take up your cross.

We've become so used with the words that we've lost sight of the revolutionary meaning. Listen to what A.W. Tozer says in his book 'Born after Midnight', he says: 'Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster. He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers'. What Jesus is saying is that your cross will be proportionate to your willingness to follow Him.

What are you suffering for Christ? You say: 'How are we suffering here for Christ?'. Do you know what I believe? I truly believe, if God's word is true, that all of us, if we are really following Christ, will start to suffer. Maybe it's because we're not following Him the way we think. Is there any point in living like this? It sounds all doom and gloom and pain and anguish - well, yes there is, it's reward: we'll become more like the Lord, and one day will share in His glory. That is the trade-off - remember I said that discipleship was a matter of profits and losses: if you lose life down here as the world values and esteems it, you will win life up there, you will get a reward, and that reward is to share in the glory of Christ. In other words, losers are keepers - 'Finders keepers, losers weepers', we say...no, losers are keepers.

If you lose life down here as the world values and esteems it, you will win life up there, you will get a reward, and that reward is to share in the glory of Christ. In other words, losers are keepers...

Do you believe that? Do you? Honestly, do you believe it? If you do, you will swim against the tide of our culture - more than that, you'll go against the tide of the church. The Lord is saying: Christ's cross and our cross precedes the glory. So, in this account of the Mount of Transfiguration in chapter 9 verses 1 to 13, we get a confirmation of Peter's confession, 'Thou art the Christ'. He is high and lifted up there, and God transfigures Him to show His divine glory - but it's also a revelation of the glory of the cross. Six days later, after our Lord has spoken of His cross and our cross, He gives proof that the transformation to glory is through suffering - do you see it? It's all connected, the message is clear: first the suffering, first betrayal, first crucifixion; then the glory.

Now, when you go to 1 Peter - the same Peter of course - you discover that Peter learned the lesson well. Would you give me the time to look at it? Turn over to 1 Peter for a moment, we'll go quickly through this. Peter learned this lesson: first the suffering, then the glory. First Peter 1 verse 6 through to verse 8: 'Wherein ye greatly rejoice', speaking to believers who were suffering for their faith now, 'though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold testings: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory'. Look at verse 11: 'Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow'.

Look again with me at 1 Peter 4 verse 12: 'Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf'.

Once more, chapter 5 verse 1: 'The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed' - that's the transfiguration he's talking about, he saw that. Verse 10: 'But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you'.

Now the Transfiguration was a preview of the second coming of Christ in glory - we know that from verse 1. It's how it will be, and His glory there is going to be shared by believers. Didn't He say in John 17 to God as He prayed: 'The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world'.

Now, according to 2 Corinthians 3:18, we now can share in that glory: 'We now, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord'. So we can have that transformation beginning in us now, that is sanctification - but one day, when the Lord comes, we shall see Him as He is, and we shall be like Him. When the Lord returns the bodies of dead saints, like Moses, will rise. Living saints, like Elijah, who never died, will rise to be with the Lord - and together, what a glory! The cross will not destroy God's plan for the fulfilment of the kingdom, it will not obstruct it, it will fulfil it!

In verse 7 of chapter 9 of Mark's gospel the Father interrupts Peter's rant about building some kind of booth to honour the Lord, Elijah and Moses; and He focuses all the disciples' attentions not on the vision of the Christ glorified, but on His word: 'Hear Him!'. Hear Him? Hear Him saying what? Generally, of course, saying all that He has taught; but hear Him: 'First the suffering, then the glory!'. What He saying? He's saying: 'The cross and then the crown'. What He's saying? He's saying: 'Satan offers glory without suffering'. Remember he came to the Lord Jesus in His temptation, and took Him up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kings of the world and the glory of them, and says: 'All these will I give You, if You fall down and worship me'. What did the Lord say to him? The exact same phraseology as He said to Peter here: 'Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve'.

What a glory! The cross will not destroy God's plan for the fulfilment of the kingdom, it will not obstruct it, it will fulfil it!

You see, Satan was tempting Him at the temptation, and now Satan is tempting him here with Peter, through Peter, to take a path of glory without suffering. Do you see it? You know what happens then? What happens then is you get the suffering, and not glory at all, because that path doesn't bring the glory. Can we echo Paul's testimony in Galatians 6:14 when he said: 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom' - listen now, don't lose me in the last couple of seconds - 'by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world'. Is that you? You're on a cross?

A man was being taken in a jeep, a Christian missionary, to be executed with a number of other Christians - I think they were natives. He was asked a question: 'Are you not afraid to die?'. Do you know what his answer was? 'No, friend, I already died long ago' - I already died long ago. Could that be said of you? Could that be said of me?

O Father, burn those words into our heart, for only he who bears the cross may hope to win the glorious crown. Help us to realise that it is those who suffer with Him who will reign with Him, and help us to choose that path, that narrow path. O Lord, we pray, help us to seek first the kingdom. O Lord, help us to surrender, to sacrifice, and to submit - day by day - until You call us home. Hear our prayer, we pray, and help us to apply these hard sayings, in the name of our Lord Jesus we ask it, Amen.

Don't miss part 41 of our Studies In Mark: "Believing Prayer, And Power For Service" Jump To Top Of Page

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins
Preach The Word.
April 2008
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Evangelical Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the fortieth recording in his 'Studies In Mark' series, entitled "The Suffering And Then The Glory" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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