Follow Day 15 Lydia, Spaghetti and Waffles: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) What was Jesus calling people to when He said that to follow Him one must “take up his cross”? (verse 34)

2) What is the reward for someone who is willing to lose their own life to follow Christ Jesus? (verse 35)

3) How is being ashamed of Christ demonstrated in someone’s life, and how will it impact their future? (verse 38)

Mark 8:34-38

34 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. 36 For what does it reward someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? 37 What can anyone give in exchange for his life? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Original Intent

1) What was Jesus calling people to when He said that to follow Him one must “take up his cross”? (verse 34)
The first four books of the New Testament are referred to as “the gospels.” Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, each writer had an agenda to proclaim the good news about Jesus. As eyewitnesses to the life of Christ, they revealed what Jesus taught and how He lived. At the time of Mark’s writing, the word gospel had become a term referring to the preaching about Jesus and His saving work. ( (Mark 1:1) Written to especially convince Gentiles that Jesus was the long-awaited and promised Messiah, the author, Mark, begins at Jesus’ baptism rather than His lineage. Though His disciples failed during His earthly ministry to fully comprehend Jesus’ messiahship, it seems His disciple Peter understood that following Jesus was much more than commitment to a good leader. When asked, Peter made an essential declaration, “You are the Messiah.” (verse 29) It’s obvious that Peter didn’t quite get it (Mark 8:32-33), but the disciples were privy to an important revelation that Jesus did not deny, He was the Christ! (verse 30) On hearing the words Jesus spoke in verse 34, the disciples and crowd knew what He meant. The Messiah was calling His followers to be willing to die. A cross served no other purpose. This was a call to complete surrender, even to the point of death.

2) What is the reward for someone who is willing to lose their own life to follow Christ Jesus? (verse 35)
Peter confessed that Jesus was anointed by calling Him “Messiah” (“Christ” is used in the Greek) in verse 29. This confession was an especially important message for Mark to communicate to his readers as it emphasized that Jesus was indeed the perfect fulfillment of every Jewish prophecy. Jesus usually drew large crowds including Jew and Gentile alike. Although they often followed Him as Messiah, their perspective of Jesus was distorted by their own desires. Many of His followers believed that as Messiah, He would free them from their Roman oppressors. When Jesus began predicting His suffering, rejection, and death, most of His followers left. The cost of following was becoming too steep. (John 6:66-69) As much as Peter believed in Jesus (John 6:68-69), he was also often confused. His arrogant rebuke of Jesus (verse 32) revealed his own misunderstanding of Jesus’ personhood and purpose. It was only human to think the reward for following Jesus would be a worldly victory, but this was the opposite of what Christ proclaimed! Jesus Himself was faced with the possibility of gaining the world and rejecting God’s will when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. (Matthew 4) Instead of giving in, Jesus chose obedience and headed to the cross. (Luke 4:5-8) His willingness to taste death was rewarded by His Father. (Philippians 2:7-11, Hebrews 2:9) It is through His obedience, and our faith in Him, we receive the reward of life everlasting. (2 Corinthians 5:14-19, Colossians 3:2-4)

3) How is being ashamed of Christ demonstrated in someone’s life, and how will it impact their future? (verse 38)
Being ashamed of Christ would have been demonstrated by an unwillingness and embarrassment to associate with Him due to His humble human condition. Being ashamed of His words referred to His doctrines and instructions. (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible) In Romans 1, Paul explains his purpose and mission to the Gentile believers by saying, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.” Paul’s confidence in Jesus’ teaching and example was clear through his preaching and his life. It was his willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake that drove Paul to share the gospel everywhere he went. A woman named Lydia was living in Philippi when she met Paul. She heard the gospel from him, and God opened her heart to his message. After she and her family were baptized, she boldly invited Paul and his friends to her home (Acts 16) Attaching herself to Paul and the gospel was courageous. In doing so, she was attaching herself to the Christ he preached. This could have cost her life, yet she was unashamed, believing her faith would ultimately save her. (Acts 16:20-24)

Everyday Application

1) What was Jesus calling people to when He said that to follow Him one must “take up his cross”? (verse 34)
Following Jesus then and now requires sacrifice and a willingness to die. Jesus never concealed the cost of following Him. In fact, it seemed at times He tried to dissuade people from following without counting the high cost. In Luke 9 we are told a few people gave excuses to Jesus when He called them to follow Him. But Jesus told them the cost of discipleship.  When Jesus called the disciples and others to follow Him, He was inviting them to a difficult life that would result in persecution and death. We are called to no less as His followers. JT English said, “to follow the person of Christ is to carry the cross of self-denial, not the crown of self-improvement.” (JT English, Deep Discipleship) Few of us will give our lives for the gospel, but in many places of our world, persecution to the point of death is a reality. The question I must ask myself is: Am I willing to give up my hopes and dreams, possessions, rights, people (family and friends), and my own life for the gospel of Christ to be known? If not, confessing that to God is appropriate. I believe He will fuel our desire to follow Him more fully!

2) What is the reward for someone who is willing to lose their own life to follow Christ Jesus? (verse 35)
Mark’s gospel clearly reveals what a whole-hearted commitment to the message and mission of Jesus will involve. The Messiah did not come, as the crowds supposed, to crush the cruel empire of the Romans. Instead, He came to be crushed! He came to suffer and die at the hands of the ones He desired to save. Becoming a follower of Jesus is more than merely looking to Him as our leader when we find it convenient for our purposes. Following Him is a commitment to be part of His mission, even if it means we will die with Him. Paradox has become one of my favorite things about Scripture. What’s down is up, what’s out is in, what’s below is above, what’s dead is alive. Hearing the call of Christ may leave us thinking He is inviting us to abundant death, not life! Yet it IS in the death of ourselves we find our reward of eternal life. (Romans 6:8-11) Saint Francis of Assisi said it this way, “For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”

3) How is being ashamed of Christ demonstrated in someone’s life, and how will it impact their future? (verse 38)
Bible teacher David Guzik said, “In these twenty centuries after Jesus, we have done a pretty good job in sanitizing and ritualizing the cross. Yet Jesus said something much like this, ‘Walk down death row daily and follow Me.’ Taking up your cross wasn’t a journey; it was a one-way trip. There was no return ticketing; it was never a round trip. It isn’t easy to walk death row with Jesus. It means that we have to associate ourselves with someone who was despised and executed.” ( Humanity’s default response to being associated with this kind of person is embarrassment and rejection, but rejecting Jesus results in Him ultimately being obliged to turn away from us. Jesus’ words are from the Father, and our refusal to accept them will impact our future. Either we will follow Him and receive a reward, or we will turn away and face judgment. (John 12:48-50) Oh friend, I am so thankful for His mercy. With Simon Peter we can choose to respond to Jesus with our humble need, “Lord, to whom will we go? YOU have words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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