Jesus has always been clear about the life he requires his followers to live. But it seems that from the beginning, no matter how simply Jesus states his mission, his followers have the habit of missing the point. The disciples argue with one another about dividing power amongst themselves once the Kingdom comes. But when Jesus is King, there is no power to be had; there is only submission and service. In the kingdom where the King washes feet, towels are greater than trophies.
Jesus has always had high expectations of those who choose to follow him. He modeled the way we should live by becoming not a conquering king, but a suffering servant. In our culture, being part of a church is usually easy and often expedient. But being a disciple means giving up everything and following Jesus to the cross.
If what Jesus has said is true, then the most important question in the world is the one he asks his disciples in Mark 8 - "Who do you say I am?" Based on his radical claims, he must be either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. It's a question we all must answer for ourselves. So, who do you say Jesus is?
We are creatures of habit. Patterns and predictability give us a way to understand the world around us. But anything can become an idol. For the religious leaders in Mark 7, their traditions became more important to them than the things near to the heart of God. All of us are susceptible to elevating traditions beyond where they should be. While people are often concerned with outward appearances, God cares about the heart.
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