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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

+ LENT TWO + 2009 +

Lexegete ™ | Year B | Mark

Second Sunday in Lent
March 8, 2009
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31 (27)
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

Prayer of the Day
O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life. Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation
May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord | Jesus Christ,
by which the world is crucified to me, and I | to the world. (Gal. 6:14)


1. Context: Mark 8:31-38

The Roman Lectionary utilizes the Transfiguration story from 9:2–10 for this Sunday. Both that selection and the Mark 8:31–38 are a big chronological jump from Lent I B and the beginning of ministry. This might be somewhat difficult for the faithful to understand because their minds like to run chronologically. However, there isn't much time in Lent and so the Church gets right to the point this Sunday with the first of the Passion announcements. There are three of these. These are sort of bridges between the 1st 8 chapters of Mark and the rest.

These predictions apparently did not impress the disciples. Peter, for one, and a leader, had trouble relating the Son of God, the Messiah, as one who had to suffer and even die. The rebuke, we presume, was not something Peter expected. None of the disciples were ready for this kind of future...for "unglory" so to speak. Remember, that the "reign of God" is near. Some of this future would mean that maybe Jesus wasn't what they had come to expect him to be because certainly God wouldn't allow this to happen to His Messiah.

1b. Text: Mark 8:31-38

8.31 Και; η[ρξατο διδαϖσκειν αυϕτου;∀ ο{τι δει∍ το;ν υιϑο;ν του∍ αϕνθρωϖπου πολλα; παθει∍ν και; αϕποδοκιμασθη∍ναι υϑπο; τω∍ν πρεσβυτεϖρων και; τω∍ν αϕρχιερεϖων και; τω∍ν γραμματεϖων και; αϕποκτανθη∍ναι και; μετα; τρει∍∀ ηϑμεϖρα∀ αϕναστη∍ναι: 8.32 και; παρρησιϖα/ το;ν λοϖγον εϕλαϖλει. και; προσλαβοϖμενο∀ οϑ Πεϖτρο∀ αυϕτο;ν η[ρξατο εϕπιτιμα∍ν αυϕτω∍/. 8.33 οϑ δε; εϕπιστραφει;∀ και; ιϕδω;ν του;∀ μαθητα;∀ αυϕτου∍ εϕπετιϖμησεν Πεϖτρω/ και; λεϖγει, ”Υπαγε οϕπιϖσω μου, Σατανα∍, ο{τι ουϕ φρονει∍∀ τα; του∍ θεου∍ αϕλλα; τα; τω∍ν αϕνθρωϖπων. 8.34 Και; προσκαλεσαϖμενο∀ το;ν ο[χλον συ;ν τοι∍∀ μαθηται∍∀ αυϕτου∍ ει∴πεν αυϕτοι∍∀, Ει[ τι∀ θεϖλει οϕπιϖσω μου αϕκολουθει∍ν, αϕπαρνησαϖσθω εϑαυτο;ν και; αϕραϖτω το;ν σταυρο;ν αυϕτου∍ και; αϕκολουθειϖτω μοι. 8.35 ο}∀ γα;ρ εϕα;ν θεϖλη/ τη;ν ψυχη;ν αυϕτου∍ σω∍σαι αϕπολεϖσει αυϕτηϖν: ο}∀ δ∆ α]ν αϕπολεϖσει τη;ν ψυχη;ν αυϕτου∍ ε{νεκεν εϕμου∍ και; του∍ ευϕαγγελιϖου σωϖσει αυϕτηϖν. 8.36 τιϖ γα;ρ ωϕφελει∍ α[νθρωπον κερδη∍σαι το;ν κοϖσμον ο{λον και; ζημιωθη∍ναι τη;ν ψυχη;ν αυϕτου∍… 8.37 τιϖ γα;ρ δοι∍ α[νθρωπο∀ αϕνταϖλλαγμα τη∍∀ ψυχη∍∀ αυϕτου∍… 8.38 ο}∀ γα;ρ εϕα;ν εϕπαισχυνθη∍/ με και; του;∀ εϕμου;∀ λοϖγου∀ εϕν τη∍/ γενεα∍/ ταυϖτη/ τη∍/ μοιχαλιϖδι και; αϑμαρτωλω∍/, και; οϑ υιϑο;∀ του∍ αϕνθρωϖπου εϕπαισχυνθηϖσεται αυϕτο;ν, ο{ταν ε[λθη/ εϕν τη∍/ δοϖξη/ του∍ πατρο;∀ αυϕτου∍ μετα; τω∍ν αϕγγεϖλων τω∍ν αϑγιϖων.

1c. Text: Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)

8:31 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.

8:32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

8:33 But 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."

8:34 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.

8:35 For 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.

8:36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?

8:37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

8:38 Those 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."

2. Analysis: Mark 8:31-38

Verses 31–32 indicate the first passion prediction, and with some small degree of detail, including the resurrection. These verses also include Peter taking Jesus aside and saying, "Listen, it just isn't good for you to talk this way...we know who you are...why would you talk so 'down.'"

Verse 33 is Peter's (and the others to be sure) rebuke for not understanding what was going on, or what was to go one. The Interpreter's Bible says, "Here he puts the inevitable suffering to the front. He never asked people to go on a picnic...His was to be the way of suffering." His rebuke of the disciples, who maybe thought this was to be a 'picnic' is a rebuke to us, too. Most 20th C. USA Christians don't really figure Christianity is a call to suffering...or that a suffering servant is the central figure. Remember, Peter's rebuke follows rather closely on his being complimented! There are some pretty strong wordsfor Peter, and to suggest that Peter is a tempter like Satan is tough.

Verse 34 is the 'doctrine of the cross.' Note that he now called the multitude with his disciples. This was not a private conference. The doctrine of the cross is "deny" [ajparnhsavsqw], too. Deny is not something that one can get out of easily. It literally means "let him make oneself a stranger to oneself." That is a good point for use in a sermon on this pericope...what it means to 'deny' and especially now in Lent. This is the same "deny" that is used at Peter's denial of Jesus. Self–denial in Lent is is a means to an end. Real denial of oneself is a total realignment of life, and then the taking up of Jesus cross makes sense, and so does discipleship, following Jesus.

Verses 35–38 are statements about the doctrine of the cross. These are amplifications of Verse 34. You see...and then 35–37 are added to illustrate some good reasons for total commitment and discipleship and denial.
[Verse 39 sort of sums up, with a mild threat, what all of the above means]

3. Strategy: Mark 8:31-38

The principal theme of this pericope is "to deny, carry/follow, and understand what discipleship costs.” These might be the points of strategy for preaching on this text.

Does “denial”, properly and exegetically understood, have a place for itself in contemporary Christianity and the lives of the faithful? This could be illustrated by the comfortable church, the comfortable pew, and even the comfortable pulpit. Denial could be the call of Lent, but to more than (not instead of...a 'mental' Lent is ridiculous) simply prayer and fasting and almsgiving (the discipline of Lent), but all of this with a resolve to really put oneself ahead of oneself but taking up the cross and following Jesus.

The cost of discipleship could be another, or part of the same approach to the text. Cross...losing life to save it...gain eternal life and not this life...are fundamentals about the Christian life–style that could be expressed fully from this text.

The threat phrase, verse 38, could be a 'close-er' but shouldn't be a Lenten threat. It could be insignificant or even superfluous if "denial" were taken more seriously.

4. References: Mark 8:31-38

THE INTERPRETER'S BIBLE, Vol. 7, Abingdon Press.

PROCLAMATION, 1–4, Lent, Series B, Augsburg.


ST. ANDREW'S COMMENTARY, Conception Abbey.

5. Music Suggestions: Mark 8:31-38

There are a great many hymns on discipleship, commitment, that could be used on this Sunday. Here are just a few suggestions:

From HB: #495 "Hail, thou once despised Jesus"

#455/456 "O Love of God, how strong and true"

From LBW: #425 "Lord, You I Love with All My Heart"

#487 "Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus"

#398 "Take Up Your Cross,'the Savior Said"

#477 "O God of Jacob"

Exegete: The Reverend C. Marcus Engdahl is retired from Gloria Dei Lutheran in South Bend,
IN, and now lives in Virginia Beach, VA.




Dartmouth,MA 02747



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