God’s Word for You
Mark 8:36-38 Ashamed
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
36 For what good will it do a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul? 37 For what could a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this, this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
What good would it be to achieve anything in the world if it meant giving up Christ? “What good will it do for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Yet the devil doesn’t have to tempt us to gain the whole world. He just needs to tempt us to mix a little bit of the world in with the body and blood of Christ. He would love for you to forget Jesus’ words: No one comes to the Father except through me. The devil would love for us to imagine many paths to heaven, many faiths that are all equally valid, equally spiritual, equally beneficial. But to embrace any other way to heaven is to be ashamed of Jesus.
In verse 38, I have presented a doubled “this, this” in Jesus’ words. The phrase, “this adulterous and sinful generation,” contains two definite articles (our “the”) and an additional demonstrative pronoun (“this”). It could be done more smoothly, but the words don’t seem very smooth in Greek. They pile up to show Jesus’ disgust with the whole rotten generation. Although “generation” in Greek is feminine and so therefore the adjectives (adulterous and sinful) are also expressed in the feminine, all the unbelieving people of the generation, both men and women, are being condemned. Yet it comes out as something like: “this generation of the adulteress and the sinful one.”
In such a corrupt society, where all of God’s commandments are abused for every reason imaginable, God’s people need to return to God, to hang their heads in shame and repentance, and ask God’s forgiveness.
Whenever man turns to God, even with a weak and crumbling faith, God hears and forgives. It is not the strength or quality of our faith that the Father sees, but rather the strength and quality of the man our faith is in: Jesus Christ. So God’s mercy stretches out a hand to us and grabs hold of us, and we are rescued through Jesus.
But to think of that same, saving Jesus, as being ashamed of me? Oh, horror! To see Jesus coming with all his powerful angels on the Last Day, calling me out of my casket or urn, but having died in unbelief? His wrath will be unending for all such miserable wretches. They will not be able to bear the screams and shrieks of their own children, who will ask: “Why did you say you would give me a choice about whether I would believe in Jesus? You never gave me a choice about whether I would learn to breathe, or learn to walk, or learn to curse and swear! You shoved sin down my throat my whole childhood as if you wanted company in hell and never wanted me to have a chance!” It will be better for the condemned rapists and child-molesters of Sodom and Gomorrah on the last day than for those parents (Genesis 19:5-8; Luke 10:12). Their agony will be unbearable and unending.
But for the parents and children who put their faith in Jesus, who endured ridicule and scorn and trolling on account of their faith, that day will be glorious. They will be lifted up to the sky and beyond into Paradise to eat from the tree of life. They will sit by Jesus’ side at the eternal banquet, and all of us who put our faith in Jesus will be there with them, forever.
Pastor Timothy Smith