What's It Worth to You?
In this week’s Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus predicts his death for the first time. “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering,” Jesus tells his disciples quite plainly. He must “be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Standing on this side of resurrection history, we too easily miss the bombshell effect these words must have had on Jesus’s disciples. Their great hope, cultivated over the three years they had followed Jesus, was that he would lead them in a military revolution and overthrow their Roman oppressors. After all, they had seen his miracles, and witnessed firsthand his charismatic ability to draw huge crowds. They had heard him proclaim loud and clear the arrival of a new kingdom. He was their longed-for future. Their cherished dream. So what could be more disorienting, more ludicrous, than the news that their would-be champion was determined to walk straight into a death trap? To surrender without a fight to a common criminal’s death? Peter scolds Jesus for his horrifying prediction. And Jesus, in what might be the sharpest and most surprising rebuke in all of Scripture, puts Peter in his place.