What will they do now? Moses has died, and nobody even knows where he has been buried. Moses is the one who led the people of Israel out of Egypt, and all along the way in the wilderness. Now he is dead, and what will happen next? Maybe Moses' burial place was kept a secret so that the people wouldn't hang around his grave wringing their hands over the loss of their leader. The people have no time for self--pity. They are still on the wrong side of the Jordan. The journey is not yet complete. They are on their way to the land God promised them, but they aren't there yet.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.