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The story of God’s relationship with God’s people is a story of promises fulfilled. We hear about God’s covenant with Sarah and Abraham in today’s Genesis reading and about its fulfillment in the New Testament texts. As Paul reminds us in Romans, we are the multitude of nations that were promised to Abraham; we are his descendants in faith. “Kings of peoples” (Gen. 17:16) descended from Sarah’s offspring; Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is Lord of all through his death and resurrection.
From generation to generation, God is steadfast. No matter how many ages pass or how often we turn away, God remains faithful. This is the great hope of our faith—no matter how often we stray or how great our sin, God persists in loving us. Jesus Christ binds us to God through our baptism into his death. In worship—especially through confession, affirmation of baptism, and communion—we continually remember the lengths to which God goes to keep covenant with us. The promise of salvation extends even into the future, as the psalmist reminds us: Our children and our children’s children will proclaim God’s salvation to generations yet unborn.
Gospel: Mark 8:31-38
After Peter confesses his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus tells his disciples for the first time what is to come. Peter’s response indicates that he does not yet understand the way of the cross that Jesus will travel.
31[Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”