"What is the purpose of our lives," I asked in my religion class the other day. And one boy responded, "To proclaim to everyone the good news of Jesus Christ." According to Mark that seems to be the wrong answer. Mark keeps having Jesus say "don't tell anyone about me. Keep it a secret." This is known in scholarly circles as "the messianic secret." Jesus seems to want his disciples to remain quiet about who he is. WHY? You would think Jesus would say, "proclaim it to everyone - I am the messiah." Why this reticence in Jesus? Most scholars believe it was related to the fact that Jesus was redefining what it meant to say "messiah." And he didn't want people to sign up with him unless they knew what he meant by "messiah." When a person heard the word "messiah" in Jesus' day, they had a cultural understanding that meant "one who was so strong that he would rout the enemies of Israel, and restore a Kingdom of peace with force and might which King David had when he was King." Jesus it seems rejected that understanding of a strong powerful Messiah that was so popular in his time, and rather understood the meaning of Messiah in terms of the Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah. Messiahship for Jesus meant loving and forgiving and bringing peace even if it meant you would have to suffer to bring it about. To follow him was to accept the fact that the only way to peace in this world is to turn the cheek, forgive, and become your enemies' servant. That was not a very popular idea in Jesus' day and it is still not. And I, too, resist it. Can you imagine us doing that with our enemies - serving them rather than bombing them? We do not trust in such ways to bring peace, rather we want our leaders to be strong and to be able to kick you know what. Yet on the top of our building is a cross, and we follow one who redefined for the world how to save it - not through the love of power but through the power of love. No wonder the disciples and we still do not understand this, and leave Jesus, so often, to die, in self giving love, all alone, except for a few low life theives who, too, were only looking out for themselves.