Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
9:1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
Jesus was here to conquer death. Once He did that, people who took up their cross and followed Jesus, didn't die. Well, their bodies "died" but their souls didn't "die". As it's explained, they went to sleep, and they will be called when the time is right. Another explanation is they live on because their souls live on. Clear as mud? Yep.... me too!
This adulterous and sinful generation could have been the generation of Herod. Herod married his brother's wife, not because his brother died [which was the Jewish tradition] but out of lust... pure lust. First of all, Herod wasn't Jewish, so there was no tradition to protect. Herod didn't have to protect the family tradition.... nope... he stole his brother's wife. AND he had his brother's daughter do what amounted to a very naughty pole dance [or maybe lap dance] for him and a few of his buddies. Did Salome and Herodias plot this seduction or was it just a nice way of discussing the sins of rape and incest? Remember, women were property back then.
I know what some are teaching in the Sunday School classes. They want you to think Herod was ok.... just a rich leader... and the others who were watching Herod leer at his stepdaughter [probably slobbering while he watched her] were "innocent" in some way. The blame all goes on Salame and her mother Herodias. But were they really at fault?
Now if this were a book about the average Joe, well, Jesus would have been calling up an army. "Pick up your cross and follow me!" reminds me of something out of the movie Braveheart! "Revolt!" It also sounds like something out of the French Revolution "Revolt!"
Jesus was angry at Herod for murdering John the Baptist. He could have called up a militia and taken on the Roman conquerors. His great-great-whatever grandfather was King David. He had the heritage. He could have raised a militia. But that's not what He did. He went on with His Mission. He didn't give them swords.
The author of this Gospel, Mark [John Mark], was not one of the original twelve. Spoiler alert!! John Mark [Mark] will show up in the Book of Acts. He'll cause issues between Paul and Barnabus. On top of that, when he does, the first verse of Chapter 9 of his book, will confuse the fire out of the followers. They will think Jesus is coming right back with His Legion and this confusion will cause issues.
Perhaps, Jesus didn't mean Herod's generation, or John Mark's generation, or even Paul's generation. Perhaps, He meant the human generation. Humans are despicable!
I wonder.... did Jesus or His Father... ever consider bringing back the dinosaur generation? At least they didn't talk back or hang people on the cross for show.
Jesus didn't say, "here, take this gun and ammo". Jesus didn't say, "here take this sword". Nope....
"Pick Up Your Cross"