Read the Gospel of Mark. Many times the crowds were amazed at what Jesus was doing. When he healed the blind man, they were amazed. When he cast out a demon, they were amazed. When he taught with authority, they were amazed. When we saw the Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ, we were amazed. Some, as in Mark's account, were offended. There is a great turning point in Mark 8 where Jesus turns toward Jerusalem and says, "Anyone who would follow me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." Amazement turns into decision. Peter pushes Jesus aside and says, "NO, LORD!" and Jesus does something that amazes Peter. He says, "Get behind me, Satan!" Wouldn't want to be called Satan by Jesus. Perhaps in that moment Jesus was so resolute that anything standing in his way would have been Satanic.

The question for us anytime we are faced with the amazement of Jesus and the offense of the cross, the way of the cross, is Will we go with him? The way we answer that is in our faith, our walking that road of carrying the cross. It takes a lifetime, I believe, to figure out what that means. Carrying crosses is a mystery to me. I don't claim to fully understand it, and certainly religious folks have confused it with self-punishment and guilt. Yet there is something in the heart of Jesus' message and story that leads me to believe somehow the mystery will be revealed to us while we are carrying the cross of Christ, not simply while we are amazed.

GeneralGreg Taylor