Jesus’ ministry of bringing God’s good news into the world, as presented in Mark’s Gospel, was met with amazement. People were amazed at his teaching. In 7:37, “They were astonished beyond measure as he made the deaf hear and the mute speak. During a storm on the Sea of Galilee the disciples were utterly astounded when the wind ceased as he stepped into the boat.
But when for the second time he told his disciples about his violent death and then he would rise, they “didn’t understand and were afraid to ask him.”
In the extended Gospel lesson for Sunday (Mark 10:32-45) they are on the road “going up to Jerusalem.” Jesus is walking ahead. The lagging disciples are amazed and those following are afraid. For a third time Jesus tells disciples in plain terms what will happen. Up in Jerusalem he will be lifted up on the cross to die and then rise.
Yes, it’s an amazing thing what Jesus did for us up in Jerusalem. But following Jesus is also a fearful business, because if he led the way to the cross before arising in glory, what cross stands in our road before we too rise to glory with Him? In the kingdom Jesus brought into the world greatness is measured in being a servant and the goal is to serve rather than be served.
As it was in the world then so it in our world today – God’s kingdom turns power and authority upside down.