Meeting Jesus

Meeting Jesus: The Cross

This is written by Matt Windsor-Richards. A smiler who loves Sadie + two boys he begat; Luke & Isaac. He loves the fun of playing with life, especially as actor alter ego Matthew Rutherford.

Mark 8:22-38



Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"

24 He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't even go into the village."

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"

28 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets."

29 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Peter answered, "You are the Messiah."

30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus Predicts His Death

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."

The Way of the Cross

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

Reflection

I'm one of those dads who spits on his thumb and rubs the mark off his child's face. I, like Jesus, didn't have a babywipe to hand, thus showing both pragmatism and initiative! I think the symbolism (and wonderful sense of theatricality) that Jesus used here is awesome. The man's eyes and perhaps his heart too was opened. In another/the same encounter with a blind man (John 9), Jesus mixes mud with spit, adding the 'dust' of the earth to the 'water' of his spittle. We are but dust, but when cleansed by Christ, we are empowered to spiritually see more clearly.

Peter is an incredible example for us to learn from isn't he? The adventurous passion for Christ mixed with the typical brittle human failures, make him compelling. I recently played him in a Passion Play called "Crosslight" for Riding Lights Theatre Company. A jovial scene around a meal was poignantly stopped dead amongst the banter to address Jesus' question of, "Who do people say I am", with Peter insightfully declaring, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God".

Amongst the bumps, Peter is unashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Jesus challenges us to not forfeit our souls! We live in this world but try not to be be seduced by the pursuit of it, instead seeking God's readily available strength to never be ashamed of all Christ has personally done for us. I currently have a few months before I start a tour for what will require me to regularly be away from home with strangers that will become a "family of 50". I want to be so lost in my love for Jesus and be empowered to live out the gospel with this impending family scenario so that those around me might spiritually see their Saviour (without the need for spit).

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