6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: In order to be a true Christian, one must embrace both the Person of Jesus and the Work of Jesus on the cross and in his resurrection.

Bi-Polar Peter

(Mark 8:27-33)

1. The term “Bi-Polar” often brings to mind a condition many suffer with, previously known as being “manic-depressive.”

2. But the term Bi-Polar often refers to a set of two extremes. Two sets of bi-polar tastes make up the foundation of Chinese cooking, for example: Sweet and sour, hot and salty.

3. Decorators will sometimes uses colors on the opposite end of the color wheel, orange and blue, for example, to accent a room.

4. Even Biblical theology has it bi-polar aspects; for example, we believe God is completely sovereign, yet we believe people are responsible for their choices.

5. Today we are going to see how Peter was spiritually bi-polar. He was spiritually perceptive when it came to the person of Christ, but spiritually blind when it came to the work of Christ. In one instance, his words encouraged Jesus, in another instance, his words disenchanted Jesus.

Main Idea: In order to be a true Christian, one must embrace both the Person of Jesus and the Work of Jesus on the cross and in his resurrection.

I. Peter Prophesies the Foundational Truth About Jesus Person, and Jesus COMMENDS Peter For It (27-30)

A. Messiah could not STATE he was Messiah, others had to conclude

• John the Baptist

• Elijah

• One of the prophets (esp. Jeremiah)

B. Peter concludes this and MORE

C. He prophetically enumerates a primary Christian DISTNICTIVE

1. Christ = Messiah

2. Son of the Living God = Deity (in Matthew)

3. Supernaturally revealed

• Jesus commend Peter

• A gal I knew heard good preaching… did not understand deity of Jesus

D. Peter feels exalted and COMPLIMENTED

1. Mark leaves out the text found only in Matthew 16:17-20. WHY?

2. Peter is the source of Mark’s Gospel, and wants to keep a humble profile

3. This is not a crucial statement (not a pope, no successors, etc.)

4. Early church interpretation: it was his confession that is the rock upon which the church is built, Peter is a stone, but this stone spoke out the rock of the church — the church’s most important belief

5. Abraham was called the “little rock” because his example of monotheistic faith was the foundation of Judaism; Peter is a little rock because his confession of faith is the foundation of Christianity.

6. It is right to complement and commend people: let God keep them humble!

John 6:66-68, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…’”

Application: Being spiritually perceptive is important; some Christians think all the matters is that we live ethical, loving lives. Those things matter, but they are not all that matters. Love and truth are not at odds; we are to love based upon truth.

II. Peter Rejects the Foundational Truth Of the Gospel, and Jesus CONDEMNS Peter For It (31-33)

A. Peter goes from the good guy to a tool of SATAN in a bi-polar sweep

Like Peter, we can have times when we are on top of the world spiritually, it seems. That’s why Paul admonishes us,

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (I Corinthians 10:12).

• We never get to a point where we can afford to be spiritually careless.

B. Jesus PROPHESIES the facts about his crucifixion and resurrection

He does not interpret those facts; this is mostly done in the epistles. Yet done on occasion in the gospels “…to give his live a ransom for many…” (Mark 10:45)

This idea was so far from the minds of first century Jews… exalted Messiah (Isaiah Targum of Isaiah 53)

C. Peter CONDEMNS Jesus for saying such things

1. Why? I think Peter thought Jesus was depressed.

D. Peter feels HUMBLED and perhaps humiliated

III. There Can Be No Crown without the CROSS

A. Jesus EMPTIED himself at the incarnation, only to be exalted AFTER the cross

B. He came not just to present himself, but to ATONE for the sins of mankind

C. Salvation by the cross is DISTASTEFUL and seems FOOLISH

1. We need to embrace BOTH the person and WORK of Jesus Christ

Last week, little baby Israel had to have risky surgery. Afterward, the doctor spoke to the family. We had been praying for the surgeon; his person was recognized: qualified, experienced, etc.. But we also needed his work. Even the right person can mess up. We need to appreciate both Jesus’ person and his work.

2. Gethsemane: No way to save mankind apart from the CROSS

D. While we crave earthy bliss, God wants us to look at our SOULS

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