Gospel of Mark Reading Plan
Day 8 Reading: Mark 8
Pastor Lisa’s Journal
What can a man give in exchange for his soul? – Mark 8:37 (NIV)
In Mark 8:31-38, Jesus begins to teach about the realities of being the Christ and the realities of being a Christ-follower. The Christ is not a triumphant, earthly ruler, but a savior who is rejected, executed and raised from the dead. Likewise, Christ-followers willingly suffer and sacrifice; not in order to earn their salvation, but to re-present Christ to their generation.
This is the simple truth- we cannot earn our salvation.
There are never enough riches to buy it.
There are never enough good deeds to earn it.
There are never enough lessons to graduate it.
There are never enough awards to elevate it.
There are never enough rituals to purify it.
We cannot save ourselves.
Jesus saves. We are saved by grace through faith in Him.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NRSV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing;
it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
Matthew 5:3 NRSV
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Extended quote by Arthur W. Pink
from his book The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer
By nature every sinner is Pharisaical, desiring to be justified by the works of the Law. By nature we all inherit from our first parents the tendency to manufacture for ourselves a covering to hide our shame. By nature every member of the human race walks in the way of Cain, who sought to find acceptance with God on the ground of an offering produced by his own labors. In a word, we desire to gain a standing before God on the basis of personal merits; we wish to purchase salvation by our good deeds; we are anxious to win heaven by our own doings. God’s way of salvation is too humbling to suit the carnal mind, for it removes all ground for boasting. It is therefore unacceptable to the proud heart of the unregenerate.
Man wants to have a hand in his salvation. To be told that God will receive nought from him, that salvation is solely a matter of Divine mercy, that eternal life is only for those who come empty-handed to receive it solely as a matter of charity, is offensive to the self-righteous religionist. But not so to the one who is poor in spirit and who mourns over his vile and wretched state. The very word mercy is music to his ears. Eternal life as God’s free gift suits his poverty-stricken condition. Grace—the sovereign favor of God to the hell-deserving—is just what he feels he must have! Such a one no longer has any thought of justifying himself in his own eyes; all his haughty objections against God’s benevolence are now silenced. He is glad to own himself a beggar and bow in the dust before God. Once, like Naaman, he rebelled against the humbling terms announced by God’s servant; but now, like Naaman at the end, he is glad to dismount from his chariot of pride and take his place in the dust before the Lord.
Jesus, thank you for the simplicity of your message. We are saved by grace through faith- faith in your suffering, death, and resurrection. Thank you for every moment you suffered- when you were hungry, cold, lonely, debated, misunderstood, betrayed, denied, mocked, tortured, and murdered. Divinity made Humanity choosing suffering so we might be saved. You take our place. You pay the price. You rescue us because we cannot rescue ourselves. Your sacrificial love is beyond words. Thank you for tasting death for us and rising again, that we might be buried with you and raised to new life. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for relationship. Thank you for healing and transformation. Thank you for freedom from the fear of sin and death. Thank you for freedom from the empty promises of this world. Thank you for a life with purpose and hope. We bless you and adore you. Glory and honor are yours, now and forever. Amen.
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