James 2:1-9; Psalm 33(34):2-7; Mark 8:27-33
Todays reading from Mark sets a pivotal moment in church history. Up to now, Jesus has been talking about the good news of the new kingdom, and how we should live in it - how we should relate to each other. Now - the realisation sets in, that Jesus IS the King, the promised Messiah. It will soon become obvious that this King, and the new kingdom will be very different from that expected by the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus. Note also Mark reports TWO titles for Jesus - Christ and Messiah. Christos is from the Greek, Messiah from Hebrew. They both mean the same thing - so Mark is thereby showing that Jesus is come for all peoples.
Over the next few verses of his Gospel, Mark shows us three occasions in which Jesus taught that the route is through suffering - grievous suffering at the hands of mankind, and those around him reject this three times. The same number of times that Peter, despite being the first to recognise who Jesus is, denies him on the night of the crucifixtion. We also, perhaps, often are indignant at suffering - either our own or that of others - and we need to learn to accept that this is God's way. And always - God will see us through this difficult, narrow path that we must follow. We all must suffer at some point in our lives: but Jesus has been, is and will always be with us in our suffering.