Mark 8:34-38 – How to Follow Christ


Mark 8:34-38


Jesus makes clear that the fate which awaits him is also the fate of his followers.


In the shadow of a city devoted to Caesar and in the context of messianic hopes of overthrowing Rome, Jesus delivers an outrageous message to his followers. His followers must take up their crosses in order to follow him. In the Roman world, crucifixion was intended to be more than just a gruesome death; it was also intended to publicly shame the condemned. After being whipped until they bled, they would be forced to carry the brutally heavy instruments of their own death to the place of their execution, while crowds of people mocked them. The intended result was total humiliation.

Jesus, knowing that this fate awaits him, calls his followers to prepare for the same humiliation and he ties it together with his coming on the day of judgment. Jesus makes plain to them that there is no way to avoid humiliation: either that humiliation will come at the hands of earthly authorities or it will come at the hands of heavenly authorities when Jesus comes in the glory of his Father (8:38).