By Christin Ditchfield Lazo
A Reading from the Gospel of Mark 8:31-9:1
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” 91And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
Before the word “Christian” was coined, followers of Jesus were known as “people of the Way” — as in “the way, the truth, and the life” — which is how Jesus described himself (John 14:6).
The season of Lent reminds us that the way of Jesus is the way of the cross, the way of self-denial, self-sacrifice, service to others, surrender to God, and yes, even suffering for his sake.
When we choose this path, we join a “fellowship,” so to speak. We join Jesus in his suffering. We share his sorrow. In our own small way, we participate in his sacrifice, his grief, his pain. Daily we face the hardships of living in a broken and fallen world.
But we also experience his joy — “fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11). We experience his peace — “perfect peace” (Isa. 26:3). Daily we live in the light of his love, his mercy, and his grace. The way of the cross is also the way of revelation, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. The way of the cross is the way of resurrection.
As we come to the close of this Lenten season, let us continue to count it an honor and a privilege to be people of the Way — to be a part of the “fellowship of his suffering” (Phil. 3:10). Let us offer him our daily grief and frustration, sufferings and sacrifices, as an act of solidarity with him — a gift of love and appreciation. And let us look for the joy, look for the hope and healing he has promised — the Resurrection soon to come.
Christin Ditchfield Lazo, Th.M., is a best-selling author, conference speaker, and syndicated radio host, passionate about calling believers to a deeper life of faith.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
Parish of Calvary-St. George’s, New York, N.Y.
The Church of England