Summary: "Who do you say that I am?"
A representative of "Teach America" visited Duke University, one of those rich Ivy League kind of universities.
She stood up in front of the large group and said to them," I can tell by looking at you that I have probably come to the wrong place. Somebody told me this was a BMW campus and I can believe it looking at you. Just looking at you, I can tell you are a success. Why would you be on this campus if you were not successful and heading for successful jobs.
"And yet here I stand, hoping to talk one of you into giving away your life in the toughest job you will ever have. I am looking for people to go into the hollows of West Virginia, into the ghettos of South Los Angeles and teach in some of the most difficult schools in the world. Last year two of our teachers were killed on the job.
"I can tell, just by looking at you, that none of you are interested in that. So go on to law school, or whatever successful thing you are planning on doing.
"But if by chance, some of you just happen to be interested, I’ve got some brochures here. Meeting over."
With that, the whole group stood up, pushed up the aisles and ran to the front a fought over the brochures.
People want to be a part of something important, something bigger than themselves.
Jesus, who has kept the people breathless trying to keep up to him, asks the disciples, "Who do people say that I am? Here they were at Ceasarea Philippi, the very centre of Roman power and all that is wise and they answer, "Oh that’s easy -- John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets.
Then Jesus gets personal -- "who do you say that I am?" Peter, always near the front of the crowd blurts out, "You are the Messiah!"
Jesus has been marching the disciples and all those who would follow all over the country side. In Mark, especially, Jesus is always on his way somewhere else. Mark’s favourite word must be ’immediately’ because no sooner has one thing happened that Jesus is ’immediately’ off some where else.
You have to think the disciples must have been breathless. They want to follow Jesus but they are always a step behind. No sooner than they think they have Jesus figured out and he takes them to new places, asks them to consider new thoughts, new ways of living, shows them another side of who he is .
This may be why the early Christian Church was called "The Way". They were part of a journey -- following Jesus, not knowing where they were going, or what lay ahead but that Jesus was leading and that was enough.
So Jesus asks the disciples, as he asks us, "Who do you say that I am?" And a breathless Peter says, "You are the Messiah!", knowing that this Jesus is the leader they want to follow. H ere is the one who is about something important; one who heals, gives hope, shatters preconceived notions. This is the leader that keeps pulling them out of what is comfortable and throwing them into something new.
Jesus begins to tell what the journey will look like. There will be rejection and death for him as he heads for Jerusalem and crucifixion.