Summary: In this Scripture Jesus confirms that He IS the Christ, the He must die and that He will rise again. Also in this Scripture we see that we must believe Jesus is the Christ, that we must die and be raised; raised to eternal life or eternal death.
Mark 8:27-38 (Please open your Bibles so you can read along)
Today we will start following Jesus down the road to the cross and then finally to the resurrection. This, of course, is not something we speak about only at this time of year.
This great act of mercy and salvation is the pivotal event of all of Christianity.
Without this event there is no Christianity.
Without this event there would only be a fool who thought he was something and was not.
If God Himself did not take on human form, if God Himself did not live a sinless life among us, if God Himself did not carry our sins on Himself to the cross, die in our place and rise from the dead, then we, ourselves, are the fools for following Him.
But, if Jesus is all that He claimed to be, the Son of God and Savior of the world, then we who have embraced Him for salvation should be dancing on our chairs for joy, for we have been swept from eternal death into everlasting life.
Here in the Scripture we are about to read Jesus is asking the following questions of His disciples, He gives them a hard truth and then He goes on to challenge them.
With that in mind, let’s go ahead and read the Scripture for today, Mark 8:27-38
What do we see in this first segment?
Mark 8:27-30 NIV
“Jesus and His disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way He asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’
“They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’
“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?”
“Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
“Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about Him.”
Now, Jesus has gone to a pagan area to spread the Good News of salvation.
This town where Jesus has gone to preach used to be devoted to a pagan god named Pan but in Jesus’ time it had been renamed Caesarea Philippi in honor of Caesar, who considered himself to be a god and the tetrarch Herod Philip. This is where Herod Philip had his residence and so that is how it came to be named Caesarea Philippi.
So, here in the villages surrounding a pagan city named after the arch enemy of Israel and a king who was in cahoots with the arch enemy of Israel Jesus asks, “Who do men say that I am?”
After some answers Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter says, “The Messiah.” And Jesus says, “Don’t tell anyone!”
Finally, the long awaited Messiah has arrived. Israel will be delivered!
Or … will they …?
Poor brother Peter is pretty confused and not holding back about it!
Let’s look and see how Matthew records what is found in Mark 8:31-33
Matthew 16:21-23 NIV
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
“Peter took (Jesus) aside and began to rebuke Him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’”
OK, so Jesus has announced the happy news, “They’re gonna kill Me but after three days I will rise again.”
The announcement of Jesus’ impending death was so violent to their thinking that they did not even seem to hear the accompanying prophecy of the resurrection.
I tried to think of an illustration that could properly convey the shock that would have set into the disciples with this turn of events.
“I’m the Messiah and I’m going to put to death!”
Just imagine that you are a person to whom financial riches are the most important thing in your life but you’ve always been poor.
One day you find on the ground a winning lottery ticket and the winning prize is $1,000 per day for the rest of your life.
Finally the day comes for you go to claim the prize and when you open the door to the presentation room it is dark inside and you think, “It must be like a surprise kind of thing where the lights will come on and every one will shout and there will be confetti and all that.
After you go in the door closes and when the lights come on you see a gallows with a hangman standing there and they tell you that it is true that you will receive $1,000 each day for the rest of your life, starting tomorrow but they didn’t have the money and the rope was cheap.