Mark 8:31-35 31And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must of necessity suffer many things and be tested and disapproved and rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and after three days rise again [from death]. 32And He said this freely (frankly, plainly, and explicitly, making it unmistakable). And Peter took Him by the hand and led Him aside and then [facing Him] began to rebuke Him. 33But turning around [His back to Peter] and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have a mind intent on promoting what God wills, but what pleases men [you are not on God’s side, but that of men]. 34And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me]. 35For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God].
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it truly means to follow Jesus. A few weeks ago, my husband said something really good in his sermon. He said, the church has been so concerned with being “leaders”, but we actually need to figure out how to be followers first. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 the apostle Paul tells the Corinthians 1PATTERN YOURSELVES after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). Paul understood that he couldn’t be a leader unless he first learned how to be a follower of Jesus.
At the beginning of this passage we see Jesus sharing with His disciples about His upcoming death. Peter didn’t like hearing this too much and took Jesus aside to rebuke Him. Jesus then pretty much called Peter out and told him, “You are more interested in pleasing man than pleasing man than pleasing God.” Jesus called Peter, Satan. This might seem a little harsh. After all, Peter just didn’t want to see Jesus suffer, he was just looking out for Jesus best interest, right? But Jesus very clearly let everyone know that regardless of the suffering He may have to endure, no matter what He might have to go through, He was more interested in fulfilling the will of His Father than doing what He might have chosen. Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was praying. He said in Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire. I’ve heard people say that it was easy for Jesus to give He life. He was the Son of God. He could endure everything. But what we see from this scripture is that Jesus begged His Father, saying, “If there’s any other way, besides me enduring the torment to come, could we do that instead? But if not, I put aside what I want and I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” Jesus was our best example of what it means to be a follower. Because He was willing to follow His Father no matter what, He was the ultimate leader of all time.