Daily Devotional: Mark 9:30-32
I love a good story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, a play, or a movie. Now, any good story has a simple, three-part structure: a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Let’s focus on the middle of a story. This is where the conflict intensifies and the uncertainty about the outcome increases at a fever pitch. All storytellers use the uncertainty about the story’s outcome to generate suspense in the audience. It is suspense that keeps their interest to the end.
Similarly, we live in the middle of God’s story as his redeemed people. We live in the time between the two comings of Christ. So then, what keeps us to the end? What sustains us until the Second Coming of Christ? Let’s take a look at Mark 9:30-32 for the answer:
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Our passage today occurs within a lengthy middle section of Mark’s gospel (Mark 8:22-10:52). This section catalogues Jesus and his apostles' journeying south to Jerusalem from northern Galilee. Our text is also one of three predictions that Jesus makes about his suffering, death and resurrection. In fact, Mark 9:30-32 occurs between the other two predictions, which means it’s the middle one. Here’s the point: Notice that right in the middle of Mark’s gospel, both Jesus and the author emphasize the heart of the gospel: our Lord’s suffering, death, and resurrection.
Basically, Christ and his gospel are the foundation for our lives as his redeemed people (1 Corinthians 3:10-11; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus knew this and taught it to the apostles, just as we read in Mark 9:30-32. Our Lord knew that these flawed men needed more than sweet nothings whispered into their ears on their journey to Jerusalem. The same applies to us today in the middle of these last days. We need more than sweet nothings. We need more than condescending platitudes during disorienting and uncertain days.
Here’s what we need: First, our Father in heaven has left us with the whole counsel of God, the Bible, which reveals to us the message of redemption and how his story ends. But second and most importantly, he has left us with his Holy Spirit as the down-payment that secures our present and future lives (Ephesians 1:13-14). Therefore, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).