Disciples of the Messiah

When Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29) Peter thought of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, the one anointed by God who would liberate the Jewish people from oppression. But Peter was only half-right; Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but not the kind of Messiah that he and the other disciples expected. Therefore, Jesus began to teach them that He must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. (Mark 8:31)

Peter objected. Peter and the other disciples could not accept that the Messiah must suffer, be rejected and be killed, for all these things are signs of failure. The disciples were ready to fight for Jesus and to protect Him at all cost. After all, the liberation of Israel is at stake. But Jesus rebuked Peter and said: “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Mark 8:33) At that point in time, Peter and the other disciples were still thinking in worldly terms; but in due time, they will come to know and understand what kind of Messiah Jesus really is.

Then Jesus began to teach His disciples what it means to be His disciple: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35) Here, Jesus challenges His disciples to totally commit themselves to Him through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself.

To live as a disciple of Christ means to give up a lot of things. It means to live not of this world because Christian values are not the same as the values of the world; for example, a disciple must choose humility rather than pride and boasting, self-giving rather than selfishness and greed, consent to God’s will rather than control and manipulation.

The truth is, suffering is a part of living an authentic Christian life. However, Christians do not suffer just for the sake of suffering. Because of our love for Christ, we consent to whatever suffering God allows us to take part of in this life. In that case, our personal suffering becomes a participation in the suffering of Christ on the Cross. A self-centered person who denies the truth of the Gospel ends in destruction; but a person who remains faithful to Christ, despite bodily death attains the fullness of life.

2020-2021 FY Financial Statement The Financial Statement for fiscal year 2020 to 2021, ending in June 30, 2021 has been noted and approved by the Finance Council. Printed copies of the financial statement are available with this Sunday’s church bulletin. Please note that this information is intended only for our church members. Thank you.

Chinese School and English Language Classes begin next Sunday, September 19, 2021. For the Chinese School, please register with Mrs. Michelle Tseng. For English Language Classes, please register with Mr. James Griffin.

Prayer for Discipleship

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that we may be authentic disciples that know You, love You and serve You.

We pray that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit to have the courage and strength to proclaim the Gospel in the midst of rejection and ridicule from the world.

Help us to teach our children to be Your disciples so that Your harvest may be abundant. Amen.

Prayer List: David Cheng, Lilian Vun, Shuang-san Wang, Bo Hao Pan, Winnie Lee, Leslie Tsui, Judy Su。