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The need for Jesus to suffer and die on the cross is stressed in this Gospel from the end of Chapter 8 onwards, which is where Jesus reveals his identity to his disciples and begins to teach them about the future that awaits him. The need that Jesus has to die on the cross is highlighted through what many critics argue is the central verse of the entire Gospel of Mark, which is Mark 8: 35-6:
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Jesus needs to die in order to act as a sacrificial offering in the stead of humanity so that they can be seen as pure in God's sight if they trust in Jesus. Jesus highlights the need for his own death through his three predictions in the Gospel of Mark, reinforcing the way his death is going to occur to his disciples, even though they are not quick to understand what he says to them. However, what is interesting about this Gospel is the way that Jesus turns his manner of death into a model for all those who believe in him to follow. There is a need for Christians to adopt the same self-sacrificial attitude as Jesus himself, just as there was a need for Jesus to die on the cross, as highlighted through his predictions.
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