This sermon is part of the sermon series "Seeing and Obeying Christ". See series.
Years ago Clarence Jordan started an interracial Christian community, Koinonia Farm, down in Georgia. He suffered greatly for his stand, but on one occasion he was getting the red-carpet treatment from a fellow pastor who was showing Jordan his brand new church building. The fellow showed Jordan the rich wood pews and decorations, all the rooms and comforts. As they walked outside, the sun was setting and a spotlight shown on a huge cross atop the steeple. "That cross alone cost us $10,000," the pastor said. "You got cheated," Jordan said. "There were times when Christians could get them for free."
We have an uneasy relationship with the Cross. We honor the Cross of Christ, to be sure, but the fact is the cross gets in the way. In the middle of Mark's Gospel, after all that the disciples had heard and seen from Jesus, there is a miracle moment when Peter's blindness was healed. "Who do you say I am?" Jesus asked, and it was as if cataracts were removed from Peter's eyes. "You are the Christ!" Right here with us all along! How blind could we be? You're God's Son, the one God promised to send to deliver us and bring us peace. "You are the Christ!" And then the Cross got in the way. Mark 8:31-33:
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of ...
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Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He is the author of Feels Like Home: How Rediscovering the Church as Family Changes Everything and Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers), as well as being a frequent contributor to Preaching Today and CT Pastors. To learn more about his Pastors' Gatherings visit www.leeeclov.com.