Summary: Jesus doesn’t send us to the comfortable places only, to declare Him. Sometimes we need to be in the dark places.

27 Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” 29 And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”

The time was growing very near for Jesus to accomplish His departure at Jerusalem. That’s the way Luke put it in chapter nine of his Gospel. On the mountain when Jesus met with Moses and Elijah they were there to discuss the departure He was about to accomplish.

So if anyone ever challenges you concerning who killed Jesus and whose fault it was; whether it was the Jews or the Romans or Judas; you can tell them that He went to Jerusalem to accomplish His departure because He had faithfully completed all that the Father had given Him to do.

As to blame, you can tell them that it was their fault. Then as the look of shock crosses their face you can add that we were all to blame, but He went there willingly to carry the blame away for us.

It was time to return to the Father; it was necessary, according to what Jesus told the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:26). So He went there and accomplished His departure.

But for now here we are in Mark 8 and Jesus has gone with His disciples to the region of Caesarea Philippi.

About six days later He’ll take them up the mountain where they will witness His glory and His chat with Moses and Elijah, and then coming down from there He will set His face like flint for Jerusalem where He will be handed over to cruel men and be tortured and crucified. So the time is close.

That is important for you to know, because as His earthly ministry began to draw to an end everything intensified. The Pharisees grew more and more intent on murdering Him, the crowds grew larger and larger, until He started talking about unpleasant things like eating His body and drinking His blood, then suddenly they weren’t so interested anymore.

You know, it is a very interesting study to go through the Gospels and pay attention to all the attitudes people had about Jesus.

Some had the attitude that He should be made King so He might destroy the Romans and free Israel and the world from their oppression.

Some had the attitude that whenever He comes around He should feed them miraculously, heal their diseases and so forth.

Some, the ones closest to Him, had the attitude that He should assign them a special place in Heaven at His right hand.

Some, like Herod, just had the attitude that He should do miracles like magic tricks for their entertainment.

And perhaps you are now beginning to understand why the Gospel writers tell us that Jesus was followed by ‘multi-‘tudes’.

Things haven’t really changed, have they? If you were to go out on the street with a clip board and a microphone and ask people their own attitude about Jesus you’d get just as many and just as varied responses, even today.

But for now here we are in Mark 8 and Jesus has gone with His disciples to the region of Caesarea Philippi.


To get the full impact of the significance of where they are and the topic of their discussion there we need to understand some things about Caesarea Philippi.

If you check the maps in the back of your Bible you can see Bethsaida on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee. You’d probably find it on the map designated as ‘Palestine in the time of Christ’.

Once you’ve located the north end of the Sea of Galilee, let your eyes drift almost directly north from there and you will see Caesarea Philippi and you may see the word Panias in more bold print.

A beautiful temple was built there by Herod the Great in honor of the Caesar, then later his grandson Philip changed the name from Panias to Caesarea Philippi, adding his own name, Philip, to the end to distinguish it from the town of Caesarea located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean.

The region itself, there on the southern slopes of Mt Hermon, continued to be called Panias, named for the Greek god of all nature, Pan. There were altars to Pan there, probably visible from where they were when they had this discussion.

On the side of Hermon there was a cave from which water flowed that marked the beginnings of the Jordan and fed both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. In that cave was a shrine to Pan and worshipers went there to pay him homage.

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