Coming with Power

And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.  Who is it who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  1 John 5:4-5
            The power of the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 9:1) has sadly been misinterpreted by so many.  Our sensibilities today try to avoid militaristic images in our faith or terms that invoke a use of forceful coercion.  This has hampered us as we apply justice, righteousness, and compassion in the affairs of human society. 
          There is a struggle between the world and our faith.  There is a way of living that leads to victory.  Our faith provides that victory.  But how does it do that?
            In this Sunday’s text (Mark 8:27-9:8), the apostles finally acknowledge who Jesus is, he’s the Messiah.  And immediately he calls the crowds to himself and tells them that if they want to follow him, they must take up their cross.  The cross was the most shameful way in the Roman world.  This means the way of no pride, no self-interest, and only yielding to your situation.
          One commentator on Mark says the message is “Our leader was crucified, come and join us?”  The faith that overcomes follows Jesus as he was fully submitted to the will of God, he died and unjust death, but God demonstrated that Jesus was accepted when he raised him from the dead, declaring that he is the Son of God (cf. Rom 1:4).  As we are fully submitted to the will of God, the righteousness of God that comes through the faith of Jesus, we are confident that we too will be declared to be God’s own in the resurrection.  That is our faith that God will justify the one who has the faith of Jesus dwelling in them.           We overcome not by political power, but by humbly following the way of the cross, the way of the faith of Jesus.

Pastor Greg