Summary: Peter got it right when he confessed who Christ is, but got it wrong when he tried to keep him from the cross.
Getting it Right and Wrong
Rev. Brian Bill
January 7-8, 2017
Man on Street Interview
There are a lot of opinions about who Jesus is, aren’t there? The question about His identity is extremely important…and how you answer it will determine where you spend eternity.
I’m pumped to be back in the Gospel of Mark. This is our 48th sermon in our “Servant and Savior” series and we’re only about half way through this glorious gospel! Our passage today serves as a turning point in the book. The first eight chapters help us see Jesus as Servant and now the emphasis changes to Jesus as the Savior. In the first half we saw Jesus crisscrossing the Sea of Galilee and from here on out we’ll see Him on the way to Jerusalem and the Cross.
We left off with Jesus healing the blind man in Bethsaida and now He aims to open the blind eyes of His disciples so that they can see who He is and what He came to do.
Let’s read Mark 8:27-33 together: “And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they told him, ‘John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’ And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’”
Our outline is simple.
• Who do people say Jesus is? (27-28)
• Who do you say Jesus is? (29-30)
• Who does Jesus say He is? (31-33)
1. Who do people say Jesus is? We see in the first part of verse 27 that Jesus heads about 25 miles north with his disciples: “And Jesus went on with His disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi…” This area is the region known as Dan in the Old Testament and marked the northern boundary of Israel, near Syria today. BTW, when you hear the phrase, “from Dan to Beersheba,” it’s a way to say from the furthest point north to the furthest point south. This was a remote region where the team could get away from the large crowds and religious leaders. This would allow Jesus to do some uninterrupted teaching with his disciples.
Jesus wants them to grasp two primary truths:
• His Person – who He is
• His Plan – what He came to do
“Caesarea” was named after Caesar and “Philippi” was named for Philip, the son of Herod. This distinguishes it from another city called Caesarea on the Mediterranean. This region was the center of Baal worship in the Old Testament and then became the religious center for the worship of the Greek god Pan. The Roman emperor was also worshipped in a temple there. Citizens were required to enter this temple once a year, place some incense on a burning altar and proclaim, “Caesar is Lord!” In addition, there were shrines to various gods carved into the cliffs.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus took them there? It was to remind them, and us, that Jesus is above all gods! Since we live in a pluralistic culture that is more pagan than Christian, we too must declare that Jesus is Lord of all, no matter what others may believe about Him.
As Jesus is on the way with his disciples He asks them a question: “Who do people say that I am?” Interestingly, He doesn’t ask where people think He’s from or even what He does; instead He wants to know who people think He is.
The good news is that the disciples know their culture well enough to understand what people are saying about Jesus. That’s a good prodding for us. We must spend enough time with lost people in order to know what they think about Christ. If we don’t know, it will be hard to help them understand who He really is. Look at verse 28: “And they told Him, ‘John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’” These seem like sensible answers, but they’re way off base.
• John the Baptist. Both John and Jesus preached repentance and righteousness so it sort of made sense to think that Jesus was John. Since their mothers were related, maybe they looked alike - lol. Herod beheaded John and yet according to Mark 6:14 he believed that Jesus could have been the resurrected John.