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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

Following Jesus to the Cross

Les Henson

Werner H. Kelber in his consideration of the story of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel writes:

“It is of course Jesus' message and lifestyle, which generate the mount­ing antagonism among the authorities. As his journey continues it becomes ever more obvious that the Kingdom he announces and puts into practice is diametrically opposed to the conventional piety and morality guarded by the authorities. The forgiveness of sins, the pri­mary concern for sinners, the non-observance of the days of fasting, and the repeal of the sabbath law combine to erect a counter-structure to the traditional ordering of human life. The Kingdom of God entails a new lifestyle, a new sense of priority, a new community. New wine is for fresh wineskins (2:22). The nature of the Kingdom is such that its King is unacceptable to the Jerusalem authorities. A deep logic unites the Kingdom of God and the death of the King. The Jesus who breaks with his opponents by charging them with “hardness of heart” (3:5) knows of his personal ending. Before his opponents have entered into the conspiracy against his life (3:6), he has already anticipated his violent death (2:20). His journey is going to be journey unto death.”

The Kingdom of God according to the Gospels entails a new lifestyle, a new sense of priority and a new community. Each of which is to be modelled upon the life, mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. Such a venture necessitates death just as it did for Jesus. As Jesus stated in Mk. 8:34-37:

“34 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

In following Jesus what are the issues that we need to grapple with in developing a new lifestyle, setting new priorities, and establishing a new community?

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