Friday after Septuagesima
Scripture: St. Mark 8:10—9:1 (NKJV)
And He sent them away, 10 immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
11 Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” 21 So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”
22 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. 23 So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” 25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. 26 Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”
27 Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” 28 So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.” 30 Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.
31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
9:1 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”
“The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
God’s work of redemption does not happen in a vacuum. Jesus Christ lived in this sinful world and dealt with the trials and temptations that are common in it. And He overcame them. He did not compromise with the powerful religious leaders and their lies. He proclaimed the truth against them and used them as an example of how dangerous corruption can affect anyone. He did not just cooperate and then bloodlessly declare how things ought to be. He lived and personified the truth and was executed for it. He overcame that as well and rose again after three days.
The preaching of Jesus Christ does not continue in a vacuum either. There are trials, adversaries, and serious persecutions that surround also the faithful preaching of Christ. The poisonous leaven of false religious leaders should not be accommodated; it must be resisted. It provides the framework for teaching repentance from such wickedness and faithfulness to the truth in rejection of the devil’s lies. And there will be suffering for those faithful teachers who stand against the more powerful corrupt teachers. But as Jesus Christ overcame all these things and manifested the everlasting glory that God’s children will possess, we too will overcome such things by the power of His Spirit and faithfulness to His truth in repentance and the forgiveness of sins.
We pray: Lord God, deliver us from the leaven of false teachers and the lies of the devil. Grant us true repentance and faithful adherence to the victorious cross of Jesus Christ so that we may overcome all the suffering of this world and obtain glorious life in our Savior at the Last Day. In Jesus Christ. Amen.