No, that won't do! I suggested yesterday that I finish the Scripture reading at Mark 8:33 but the more I look at the text the more I realize I have to go onto 9:1! I know it involves much more detail but the rebuke Jesus gives Peter (verse 31) leads into verse 34...."Then he called the crowd to him...."
This gives an extraordinary context for the questions Jesus asks. Though it's still early on in my preparation (it often takes me more than twelve solid hours!) my sermon impact is shaping up like this:
By God's grace, what this sermon will SAY: Jesus asks questions about eyesight, and about himself with a specific personal question about "Who do YOU say that I am?", yet he opens up demanding teaching about his own suffering and what discipleship means. What this sermon will DO: challenge each of us afresh about personal faith and personal discipleship.
I know July 4th. will be a Party Day, but what a difference it makes to EVERYTHING to hear these questions of Jesus! Let's go on preparing.