Seeing and Doing
Eternal God, You are my relentless Judge and my gracious Redeemer. Challenge me to grow as I read Your Word.
Read MARK 8:27—9:1
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Predicts His Death
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
The Way of the Cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
9 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord” (The Apostles’ Creed).
Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi, the recognition that Jesus is the Messiah, represents the heart of Mark’s Gospel and its turning point. From this point onwards, Jesus and his disciples are “on their way” to Jerusalem (e.g., Mark 10:32). The intensity and sense of foreboding will increase as Jesus talks
repeatedly about what awaits him there. Yet this is accompanied by repeated bewilderment on the part of the disciples. Peter represents them by making his wonderful declaration of Jesus’ messiahship in one moment and then, in the next, denying that it must be fulfilled by way of the cross. Peter, like many Jews, anticipated that the Messiah would bring in a new age of peace and prosperity, quite possibly by the violent overthrow of political opponents like the Romans. Dying by the hands of those opponents was certainly not part of the plan and it is no wonder that Peter was confused, like the partially healed man of yesterday’s reading. Yet Jesus’ identity cannot be separated from what he does. His actions demonstrate who he is, just as who he is determines his actions. Here, truly to recognize Jesus is to recognize the inevitability of his death and resurrection. The whole of Mark’s Gospel points in this direction. For Jesus, salvation is achieved, not through gaining the world, but in the paradoxical giving up of his life. The thrice-repeated Passion predictions suggest that this should be meditated upon.
With the recognition of who Jesus is comes the responsibility to act like him. This is remarkable, because while only Jesus could affect salvation through the cross, his followers are also to live cross-shaped lives. These are selfless lives, potentially suffering lives and certainly lives lived for others. In this way, our lives point the true way to salvation.
Who do you say that Jesus is? Think carefully, because the answer determines how we should live.
Gracious Lord Jesus, I affirm today that You are my Lord and Savior. I bless Your holy Name.
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