The Way of Suffering, The Way of Hope - Mark 10:32-34

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In Hebrews 12:1 the writer of Hebrews describes the Christian life as a race. We are in a race and in order to run well we must lay aside anything and everything that could weigh us down. It’s a call to consider the things that could distract us or pull us off course in the race toward holiness.

After the command of verse 1 we have this encouragement: We are to set our sights, to fix our eyes on the One who has gone before us and the One who makes our faith possible, our Lord Jesus Christ.

The two parts of Hebrews 12:1-2 mirror well the themes of Mark 8-10. In these chapters Jesus is regularly reminding His disciples of the cost of discipleship; it’s a call to sacrifice and suffering. And yet in these chapters Jesus also takes three opportunities to announce or prophesy of His own suffering and death (Mark 8:31; 9:30-32; 10:32-34).

As we come to this third ‘prediction passage’ we have the reminder that Jesus has not called us to anything He has not already done Himself. He came and gave Himself for us, even to the point of death. Now the call is for us to follow His example: to give ourselves to Him, no matter the cost.

The Commitment of Jesus to His Mission – He willingly walked toward the cross (10:32a)

  • The road to Jerusalem – In many ways Mark portrays Jerusalem as a symbol of opposition for Jesus. It’s the place from which scribes and Pharisees would come to test and try Jesus. Now, as Jesus moves toward Jerusalem He’s moving toward the place where He knows He will suffer and die.
  • Jesus leads the way – In verse 32 Mark adds this small but important detail: that Jesus walked ahead, leading the way. He had made it clear that His life would not be taken from Him; He would lay it down (John 10:18; Mark 10:45). Jesus’s commitment to the cross seems to be illustrated in His knowing and willing walk toward Jerusalem (Is. 50:7). 
  • The response of those following – Mark describes the response of those following Jesus as both amazed and afraid. It’s likely they are amazed by the courage and resolve of Jesus while at the same time being afraid of what He will face – and by extension, what they may face as His followers.

The Example of Jesus in His Suffering – He willingly accepted the cross (10:32b-34) 

  • Jesus foretells of His suffering and death – This is the final and most complete of the three times when Jesus foretells of what He will face in Jerusalem. The detail He provides leaves no doubt that Jesus knows very clearly what is ahead. He knows He will be betrayed, condemned, mocked, beaten and killed (Psalm 22:6-8).
  • Jesus willingly moved toward suffering – This passage makes it clear that Jesus knew full well all that was ahead of Him, and yet we mustn’t miss that He never waivers. Jesus walks toward suffering, not away from it. He knew why He came and He remains faithful.
  • Application: The call to follow Him – The call of Jesus to His disciples (and to us) is a call to follow: A call to love Him and others more than ourselves (Philippians 2:5-8) and to lay aside anything that would keep us from following Him (Hebrews 12:1). It’s a call to suffering and sacrifice (1 Peter 2:18-20). In all of this Jesus has gone before us and is our example. 

The Hope of Jesus’ Resurrection – He was confident that His death would be followed by resurrection (10:34)

  • Jesus foretells of His resurrection – As Jesus looks ahead He’s not only fully aware of His suffering and death, He also knows that He will not remain in the grave. Jesus announces that after three days He will rise again (John 10:17-18).
  • The path of hope and joy – As Jesus went toward the cross He went knowing that His suffering and death would not be wasted. His death would accomplish salvation and forgiveness for all who will believe. His death would be followed by resurrection and exaltation. The writer of Hebrews says that He endured the cross for the joy set before Him.
  • Application – Our hope – The call to follow Jesus is a high and costly calling. Yet we can follow Jesus, even in the hardest circumstances, knowing that just as He has been raised, we will also be raised. We may suffer and sacrifice much in this life, but we can look forward to eternal life – the joy set before us.