Summary: We are not called to a superficial Christianity. We are called to be Christ's disciples. We are called to discipleship.
“Life is precarious, and life is precious. Don’t presume you will have it tomorrow, and don’t waste it today.” —John Piper
Peter’s Confession of Christ
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.”
30 And He warned them to tell no one about Him.
31 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.
32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
37 “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
We are not called to a superficial Christianity. We are called to be Christ's disciples. We are called to discipleship.
The New Testament is full of instructions about discipleship. Here in Mark's Gospel, we find Jesus beginning to teach His disciples just what discipleship is all about. They knew He had called them. They saw themselves as His followers. But did they understand what it meant to follow Him? The call to follow Jesus is a call to discipleship. But what does that mean? As Jesus challenges Peter and the rest of the twelve here in this passage, He will unfold a radical teaching of being a disciple - a real follower of His.
Are you a follower of Christ? Do you see yourself as a disciple? It is important for us to understand just what we mean when we talk about discipleship. Far too many believers have a shallow view of what discipleship means in terms of their lives. Many claim to be followers of Christ who are only deceiving themselves and others. What they really have is only a sentimental fondness for sweet encounters with the blessings of the Lord. When it comes to following Jesus and denying self and laying down their lives, they pull up short. This is what the world sees. That is one reason they mock us. What we need to be and what we need to show the world is people who love Jesus passionately and follow Him completely. We will see in our text today two vital characteristics of discipleship. Hopefully, we will come to understand what confessing Christ means and how that confession is lived out in our lives.
The Confession of Discipleship
Part of our coming to Christ is our coming to a place where we can confess Him as our Savior and Lord. That confession is an acknowledgement that we personally take Christ as our Savior and commit our lives to live for Him. The confession of discipleship is a cornerstone of our Christian faith. In our text today, Jesus is leading His disciples to make such a confession. He does so through A Probing Interrogative.
"And 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?' And they told Him, saying, 'John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but still others, one of the prophets.' And He continued by questioning them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Peter answered and said to Him, 'Thou art the Christ.' And He warned them to tell no one about Him." (vv. 27-30)
Jesus was always teaching, and this was no exception. On His way to Caesarea Philippi, He put a number of important questions to His disciples. He wanted to know, firstly, what people were saying about Him. The opinions varied. Some thought He was John the Baptist risen from the dead. Others felt He was the prophetic fulfillment of the coming Elijah. The Jews expected Elijah to come before the Messiah. Opinions varied from that point as people speculated that He was one prophet or another. These were the opinions of people. They are interesting, but not accurate. The world has its opinion of Christ, but it is not often accurate.