Today we enter Holy Week. Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with people shouting Hosanna to the Son of David! They had a sense that Jesus could be the Messiah. But, they had a wrong understanding of what the Messiah would come to do. This correlates exactly with Peter and the disciples who confess Jesus as the Christ but misunderstand Jesus’ mission as the Christ. Not only that, they don’t realize that Jesus’ mission of cross-bearing is the same mission they will have as his followers.
Read Mark 8:27-9:1.
Questions for Small Groups:
In this passage, the disciples tell Jesus that many people think he is a prophet. Do you know anyone who thinks Jesus is just a prophet or a great moral teacher? Why do you think they hold this view?
Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Share with your small group about the time when you first realized that Jesus was the Christ and trusted in Him as Savior.
The disciples misunderstand Jesus’ mission. They thought he would be a conquering King. But, he came first to be a suffering servant. In what ways have you misunderstood the plan of Jesus in your own life? Are there things Jesus is doing (or allowing) that don’t make sense to you? What truths or promises can strengthen you to continue following Jesus even with those questions?
Jesus teaches his disciples that if they want to follow him, they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him. Does the idea of cross-bearing as a Christian shock you? Share at least one area of your life that you sense God calling you to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.
Think about our fighter verse – Mark 8:35. Jesus is talking about gaining by losing. What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make in order to follow Jesus? How have you found Jesus to be greater than any of those sacrifices?
For Deeper Discussion:
What are some things you could share with your non-Christian friends to help them see that Jesus is not just a prophet?
In the sermon, it was stated that the cross is offensive to everyone and that you can’t understand the significance of the cross until you have felt the offense of the cross. How have you felt the offense of the cross in your life? (Think in terms of your performance, achievements, moral uprightness, etc.)
To deny yourself means to give up your rights, privileges, status, dreams, and desires in order to follow Christ. In what ways might you still be holding on to some of these things because they are comfortable and safe? Are there areas of your life that you are not willing to lay down because of your fears or doubts?
Read Mark 8:27-9:1 together.
Share with your children why Jesus had to suffer and die. Help them see that in order to be our substitute, he had to take our sin and our death upon himself. Remind them that the resurrection of Jesus proves he is God and has the power to destroy sin and death forever.
Ask your children about something they had to give up or lose in order to gain something better? (Think about playing a sport or instrument; or saving up to buy something they really wanted.)
The image of cross-bearing is not pretty, but it is the teaching of Jesus. Help your children understand that following Jesus always involves a cost. Share with them some of those costs. But, then share about how what we gain from knowing Jesus is so much greater (love, grace, acceptance, forgiveness, eternal life, heaven, etc.)