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Summary: Jesus - Confession, Cross & Challenge (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Mark chapter 8 verses 27- chapter 9 verse 1.

Ill:

• The Duke of Wellington is best remembered;

• As the general who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo on Sunday 18th June 1815.

• During his earlier service in India,

• Wellington was in charge of negotiations after the battle of Assaye.

• The emissary of an Indian ruler,

• Anxious to know what territories would be given up to his master,

• Tried in various ways to get the information.

• Finally, he offered Wellington a large sum of money to try and buy the information.

• “Can you keep a secret?” asked Wellington.

• “Yes, indeed,” the man said eagerly.

• Wellington replied; “So can I,”

Ill:

• To say that J.D. Rockerfeller was very,very rich would be an understatement;

• On one occasion somebody asked J.D. Rockerfeller the secret to getting rich.

• He replied “Three things to do if you want to be rich:

• (1). Get up early.

• (2). Work hard.

• (3). Find oil!”

Quote:

• A secret has been defined as;

• "Something you tell one person at a time."

• From. time to time, Jesus shared special "secrets" with His disciples,

• And we will read about one of the biggest ones in a few minutes time.

Note:

• It is worth noting that in these verses we move from the public arena.

• Last week you will have noted Jesus has just healed a blind man at Bethsaida.

• Now he is moving to "behind the scenes"

• From the outside crowds and the religious leaders;

• To the inner circle, of just his disciples.

(1). The Location (vs 27)

• “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi”.

• Matthew describes the location as: “The region of Caesarea Philippi”

This area, this location was important for two reasons:

(a). Geographically.

• Jesus and his disciples are in the region of Caesarea Philippi.

• Caesarea Philippi lies about twenty-five miles North-east of the Sea of Galilee.

• It was important geographically because;

• This region was outside the domain of Herod Antipas (who was ruler of Galilee),

• And he was outside the domain of the Jewish religious rulers;

• Who were based in the south (this location was about 120 miles from Jerusalem)

Therefore this area was very much a safe place for Jesus to live, to preach and to travel around:

• The population was mainly non-Jewish,

• Therefore he would not be constantly pestered;

• By those who wanted him to perform, miracles or who were looking for the Messiah.

• In many ways;

• This was the perfect location/place for Jesus to get alone with his disciples,

(b). Spiritually:

I believe Jesus purposely chose a disturbing place for his disciples;

• Caesarea Philippi is located at the source of the river Jordan.

• Which emerges at the foot of Mount Hermon.

• The source of the water that flows into the Jordan river;

• Comes from the snow on top of Mount Hermon.

• Which melts and filters down a crack inside the mountain;

• Flowing out through a hole at the base of the river;

• It is actually beneath the surface of the water.

It is a natural phenomenon;

• S often happens this natural phenomenon;

• Became the focus for superstition and religious cults;

• And it has been the centre of Pagan worship for centuries.

• This region was strongly identified with a whole host of different religions:

• Ill: It was ‘a ‘Glastonbury’ type situation (e.g. full of pagan/new age).

e.g. It had been a centre for the old Syrian Baal cult,

ill:

• Thompson in his book; “The Land and the book”

• Enumerates no fewer than fourteen such temples in this area.

e.g.

• The Greek god Pan (the Greek god of nature) had shrines there;

• In fact, this was said to have been his birth-place.

• The ancient town actually bore his name “Panias”.

• And to this day it is called “Banias”.

e.g.

• Herod the Great had built a massive temple made of white marble there;

• He built it to honour Augustus Caesar,

• Herod’s son, Philip changed the name of the town.

• He renamed the place Caesarea in honour of the Emperor,

• And he added his own name Philip,

• To distinguish it from the other Caesarea on the coasts of the Mediterranean.

So in this great white marble temple:

• A man, the emperor of Rome was worshipped;

• And declared to be god, master of the world.

Notice:

• It was in the midst of this ‘heartland’ of pagan superstition:

• A ‘who’s who’ of ancient religion, that Jesus asked his incredible question.

ill:

• Standing in the trophy room at Old Trafford , Manchester.

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