Summary: "Who do you say I am?"

Answering God’s Most Important Question Mk.8:27-33

INTRO.: Have you ever been asked an embarassing question? I was once asked by a Parks and Wildlife officer, “ May I see your fishing license?” I didn’t have one. If a policeman asks, “Do you know why I stopped you?” The best answer is “no” because any other answer may tell him something he doesn’t already know. Or how about, “Where is the fire, pal?”The Boston Globe once published a list of the top ten unanswerable questions. One was asked by a nine year old boy whose cat was overweight; “How many calaries are in a mouse?”

These are all unimportant questions. Think of the most important question you have even been asked. “Will you marry me?” “Are you saved?” etc.

Our text contains what may be the most important question Jesus ever asked His disciples. It is a question each of us must answer before we can make a decision to give our lives to Jesus; “Who is Jesus?”

The background: Jesus is at the peak of His popularity. Crowds are following Him. But, the cross is just ahead. About to start intensive training of apostles.

Success or failure of His mission to earth depends on His ability to impress others with the truth about Himself. The world must know He is God. He asks a general question; “Who do men say I am?” Then He becomes personal: “Who do you think I am?”

I. The answer: “You are the Christ.”

A. Correct, but not in line with expectations.

1. Means “Messiah,” “Anointed One.” in context refers to one chosen to be king.

2. For centuries, Jews had expected a great political, military leader.

3. Had to be hard for Peter to change his mind, admit his forebears had been in error.

4. Jesus flew in face of revered tradition.

B. Here is startling new truth. The Messiah is:

1. Carpenter, not conqueror,

2. Servant, not sovereign,

3. Teacher, not warrior,

4. Healer rather than combatant

5. Ancient prophecies fulfilled in Him. Matt. 12:19-21

C. Why, in verse 30, are disciples warned not to tell anyone?

1. Sharing new insights is a common human desire. They would be eager.

2. Certainly, He wanted others to know, but they are not ready for that task yet.

3. Not enough to know who He is. There is another essential lesson to learn. He will now teach that lesson.

II. Being “Christ” will involve great suffering: vv. 31-33

A. Every worthwhile cause exacts its price in toil, suffering.

1. Jesus will pay a heavy price for the redemption of souls.

2. They feel great joy in discovering the Christ, but joy will not be unmixed. They will see Hm pay the price on Calvary.

3. They are warned association with Him may not be all honor.

B. Last phrase of verse 31 hints of glory to follow suffering:

1. Heb. 2:10, 14 tells the purpose of His suffering.

2. Joy will follow. Heb. 12:2

3. “Therefore” in Phil. 2:9 connects suffering to glory.

C. Disciples don’t understand this. Peter begins to rebuke Jesus for such a suggestion.

1. The suggestion He should avoid suffering is satanic.

2. Hard for Jesus to hear this from a friend. Temptation usually comes from unexpected sources.

3. We serve a suffering Savior. Should not expect service to always be cheap and easy.

III. Confessing Christ may call for suffering, self sacrifice:

A. Mark 8:34 indicates there is a price to pay.

1. ILLUS.: My own conversion meant leaving the family religion. I was young. It wasn’t easy.

2. May have to change one’s mind, give up cherished beliefs.

3. This should not surprise us: I Pet. 4:12-14

4. Jesus is honest with His disciples. Hepromises glory, but not ease.

B. According to Mark 8:35, it is worth it.

1. Every life is worth saving.

2. Should never be embarassed or ashamed about the Gospel. V. 38

3. Suffering leads to restoration: I Pet. 5:10.

C. So, Jesus calls you to take up your cross: v. 34

1. The cross means service, loyalty, even suffering for Jesus.

2. There is great dignity in rising above self, sharing in the suffering of Christ.

3. In denying self, we find true selfhood and become Christlike.

4. Remember, He doesn’t ask us to make any sacrifice He has not already made

CONC.: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” .is not just a statement we make. It is the acknowledgement of a powerful, costly Truth. We must not merely say it with our lips. We must be ready to back it with our lives.

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