This question is the turning point of the story. So far in Mark’s gospel, the primary focus of Jesus’ teaching revealing his authority as the Son of Man and the Servant of God. Having established his identity, Jesus now prepares his disciples for what he came to do.
- 1:1-13 – introductory section that presents the credentials of the servant
- Chapters 1-14 – the ministry of the servant
- Chapters 8:31-16:20 – focuses on the ransoming work of the servant. From here, Jesus sets his face toward Jerusalem and the cross.
8:27And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. – Mark 8:27-30
- Most likely, Jesus is on his way to Mount Hermon where the Transfiguration will shortly take place (Mark 9:1-8).
- The people were saying the same things about Jesus in Mark 6. Their understanding has not changed.
- It is much safer to consider Jesus a prophet than it is to recognize him as the Son of God.
- The word “Christ” is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah, which means “anointed one.”
- Peter means: “You are the One whom God has anointed King. You are the King, the coming One predicted of old to rule over the people of God, and over the nations of earth. You are the Priest who is coming, the Anointed One.”
- The Messiah commands obedience. He is a king, the Son of David. He is the one who will bring about the kingdom of God, the era of righteousness. He cannot be ignored.
- Just as he warned the blind man to stay out of the village, so now Peter also is sworn to secrecy — because his understanding his not yet complete.
8:31And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 34And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:27-38
- Before you can speak, you need to learn.
- Both Matthew and Mark specifically tell us that it was at this point that Jesus began to teach them about the cross.
- Jesus emphatically warns them that to acknowledge that he is king, but refuse his “way” of being king is to remove themselves from the school of disciples and become the tools of the devil.
- The first part of his answer is you’re trying to lead, not follow. The second part of his answer is this: “You are thinking the way men think, Peter, not the way God thinks.”
- Jesus is not the kind of Messiah people expected, but he is the Messiah of God. He is the Messiah who gives life, the One in whom we may hope.
- If we want to follow behind this king we must follow his way, not our own way. We must give up the fairy-tale and live in reality. His way means giving up your way, putting your life at risk, and taking up a cross.
- Jesus paid a great price for you and the promise of the gospel stands open before you but the window of opportunity won’t be open forever.
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