Hello

Day 16 of Higher Bible reading is a biggie. We’re slap-bang in the middle of Mark’s Gospel and Jesus asks, ‘Who are people saying I am?’ It’s the million-dollar question even today. What do people think of Jesus? Is he a wise man, or a teacher, or a prophet? Is he deluded, a crazy man? Or is he made up, an imaginary character to be filed next to the Easter bunny? What you make of this Galilean carpenter from 2,000 years ago will seriously affect your life. For Peter… well, his answer is about to score him some serious brownie points!

Read

Today's reading is from Mark 8:22-38. You can find it on page 768 of your Higher Bible.
You can also read it online here.

Think

Well, now it's all kicking off! Poor old Pete’s been called ‘Satan’ in front of all his mates! And Jesus’ teaching sounds a bit backwards – If you lose your life you'll find it? To quote many a Disney film, 'Wait, what?!' First let's clear things up on Peter aka ‘Mr Satan.’ This isn’t trash-talk from JC. What he’s pointing out is that things from God’s perspective sometimes look very different to our own. Jesus is saying he’s going to lose, and worst still he’s inviting us to come and lose alongside him. The way God is going to work here will be the very opposite to what people expect. Jesus will suffer and die in order to conquer our sins. Victory will look like defeat for a while. And Mark’s definition of what it means to be a Christian is not a Sunday afternoon in the park. It’s a march into a world of risk and danger. One where to save your life you need to lose it. This doesn’t mean we’ll all end up nailed to a tree, but it does mean sometimes we will have to sacrifice things that matter most to us: our reputation, a relationship, an ambition, a habit. Whatever stops us from making God famous – that’s what must die in us.

Pray

Sometimes we can tie God’s hands by the unhelpful things we do in our lives, such as gossiping, swearing, lying, or aching for the wrong things. Ask God if there are any of these things in your life which need to go.

Live It

Try living with an opposite attitude. For example, if you’re tempted to slag someone off, do the opposite and speak nice things about them instead. Or if you’re craving that new outfit from Top Shop, buy it for a mate instead.

Repeat

What do we expect from a Messiah? Someone to zap all our problems away? Someone cosy and comfortable to give us a cuddle? Jesus gives the word a bit of a facelift as he talks about suffering and death. The second half of Mark’s Gospel leads us down the path of suffering as we follow the Son of God to his death. Walk with us tomorrow as the pace begins to speed up.