He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Jesus’ passion refers to the suffering, both mental and physical which he endured before his death. In Caesarea Philippi, Jesus outlines to his disciples what the rest of his life will be. (Mark 8:31). Jesus says:
- The Son of Man must suffer much.
- The Son of Man will be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the Law.
- The Son of Man will be put to death.
- Three days later he will rise to new life.
Peter rebukes Jesus regarding his above predictions because Peter does not fully understand who Jesus is. The Gospel of Mark presents Jesus’ disciples as being rather slow-witted for a particular reason.
- Mark wants people to realize that when we have God among us we often do not recognize God. It is only after an extraordinary event occurs that people come to realize God was always with them.
- The crucifixion, and most especially the resurrection of Jesus, opened the eyes of his disciples to the full meaning of Jesus Christ.
- It is only in hindsight that the disciples are able to grasp the meaning of the events they experienced with Jesus and to understand his teachings.
- We do not fully understand what it means for Jesus to be the Messiah. Our understanding of Jesus grows gradually as we study and learn more about his life.
Jesus tells Peter and his other disciples who want to be part of Jesus’ kingdom, they must deny themselves and commit themselves to Jesus. They are to follow after him, not lead him. Being a disciple of Jesus and making a commitment to him has and always will be in the shadow of the cross since we are to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus.
Do you agree with what it means to follow Jesus?