Summary: Who is in control of your life? Is it you to Jesus...can you pay the cost for your salvation?
Cost – what are you carrying?
In the beginning of this chapter we see 4000 people fed with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus told his disciples to feed the people and when they said, “yes, but how?” He provides a miracle. Now it should not have been a shock to the disciples, he has done it before. But they seem, confused, like they can’t figure out this Jesus guy. Later some Pharisees wanted to see a sign – some miracle, as proof. Jesus refused them a sign to this generation and he leaves the area.
They get to Bethsadia Jesus healed a blind man. It is the only miracle in scripture that has two steps. At first he sees people walking around like trees. The Jesus touches him again and he is completely healed.
He continually ministered to the crowds AND to the individual. All of these events were leading up to the cross. There were so many things people did not understand. It seems that their vision of what was happening was blurry and needed clearing up. Not just the crowd, the disciples themselves.
Jesus asks a safe question. He asked the question, “Who do men say that I am?” He got various answers:
John the Baptist
one of the prophets
It is a safe question because they were asked to share what the people – the people thought. There are no traps in that right. Bobby Joe over at the bakers, says you are John the Baptist…making a way for the one that is to come.
Ralph over at the sandal shop is telling every body you are Elijah returned from heaven.
You can ask almost any body and they will call out a prophet’s name.
Then Jesus asked --”Who do YOU say that I am?” This is not a safe question. It is directly asking the hearers to make a personal statement.
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
Peter is declaring that Jesus is the promised messiah. The risk of looking foolish is huge. In another description of this same event Jesus tells him that “God revealed that”. Peter’s response is bold and insightful and marks the turning point in the journey to Jerusalem and ultimately crucifixion.
From this point on, Jesus started to teach them about things leading up to His death.
- The Son of man must suffer many things
- be rejected of men
- be killed
- rise on the 3rd day.
Peter strongly objected. Basically, You know Peter just wanted to encourage Jesus. Come on buddy, why the long face. Listen to me. I promise you it’s going to be just fine. I know God is with you and who ever picks on you picks on me too.
Stop all that negative talk, it’s bad for the troops. It scares them.
There is no way that God will let you suffer and die, what good would that do, your kingdom is about you. God has given you amazing powers. Use them.
Jesus recognizes the same temptation coming to him as he had heard in the wilderness. It is a temptation to take a short cut in his mission. He told Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!", "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
Before peter could respond with anger or hurt, if he could. Jesus spoke to the large crowd and the disciples. They all had the same opportunity to hear and to respond. He said to all of them. “If anyone would come after me he must do three things:
- deny himself
- take up his cross
- follow me
To DENY Oneself: Means more than giving up something for Lent.
Some people will say, “I’m giving up chocolate candy for Lent or I’m giving up smoking or I’m giving up sweets. Some even pick out something that is not difficult to give up--something they never do anyway--like “I’m not wearing my work boots to bed or I’m giving up skydiving for Lent.”
Although you could deny yourself something such as this, Jesus was talking about something different.
He was talking about the process of becoming His true disciple. IF anyone wants to be my disciple then he has to be different from what he is now.
Who is really going to deny themselves? He has turned to the crowd that is there to hear teaching and perhaps want to see or even receive a little miracle.
But, the people in the crowd had no real commitment to him. They aren’t ready to really respond.
His disciples were on the way, they had nearly three years of instruction and witnessed lots of cool stuff. But even Peter who I believe would really have given his life for the teacher and was given the words – “ you are the Christ” had a lack of understanding.