Sermon Review: "Jesus Loses"
This past Sunday at New City, Rev. Paul Hahn preached from Mark 8:27-38.
Here are the main points:
Brokenness is a key theme that the Gospel of Mark highlights: for we live as broken people in a broken world. Things are broken. And we are broken. Into all this brokenness Jesus comes as Christ, as King, to mend it all.
Now all of a sudden, he speaks deliberately of losing! As the Christ, the anointed King, he will suffer and die. This is his mission, to win only by losing. He was God’s King who had come, not to bring divine retribution, but to bear it, to be broken by it. Our brokenness is so severe that Jesus must allow himself to be broken to mend it.
Peter wants no part of this kind of kingship for Jesus, so he takes Jesus aside and then takes him to task. Peter tries to speak to Jesus the same way Jesus spoke to the demons, rebuking him, attempting to cast something out of him. But, Jesus will not be rebuked; the way of the Cross will not be cast out.
Why? Because only through this kind of kingship could Jesus win the world. This is his mission, exclusively to win by losing. And it is a mission that is intended to captures our lives. Following Jesus is Mark’s way of describing what it means to be a Christian. And following Jesus means following him in the way of the cross.
If Jesus is a King by a cross, then it follows that his followers must have crosses too. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (v.34)
At its broadest, cross carrying means enduring any kind of suffering or dying for the sake of following Jesus. At another level, carrying your cross means enduring persecution for the sake of believing and living the gospel, just as Jesus’ passion and crucifixion were the ultimate persecution. The simplest way to think about it is as a sacrifice that brings the love of God in the name of Jesus into others’ lives, that will very likely stir up ridicule an misunderstanding, if not outright persecution along the way.
The cross is the full extent of God’s love for us. Our cross bearing will happen in the places where we sacrificially pour out the love of God to our neighbours, even our enemies. For while we were yet the enemies of God, Christ died for us!
Bottom Line: Jesus won by losing, and he calls us to lose that we might win, and that through our losing, the world might win too.