Summary: A perspective on Mark 8: 27-38. Our text today marks the end of Jesus’ Galilean ministry and the beginning of his journey to Jerusalem. It describes a transition period, a time of reflection, a time of learning, a time to gather strength and move on.
Mark 8: 27-38
ON THE WAY WITH JESUS
When we look through the Gospel of Mark we find our text in the middle of his Gospel. He has put it there for a reason. Our text today marks the end of Jesus’ Galilean ministry and the beginning of his journey to Jerusalem. It describes a transition period, a time of reflection, a time of learning, a time to gather strength and move on.
We read from verse 27, And Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; 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 charged them to tell no one about him. Jesus and his disciples are moving away from their familiar territory around Lake Galilee. It was in this area that they carried out much of their ministry. Here, Jesus gathered his disciples, healed the sick, fed the hungry, taught the people about the Kingdom of heaven, and gave them peace and hope in their lives. Now, Jesus and his disciples are on the way, they are moving north through the villages of Caesarea Philippi and into the foothills of Mt. Hermon. From there they have a view back down into the region around Lake Galilee, and still further on lies Jerusalem.
They are on the way, a time to reflect back over on their ministry in the region of Galilee. It is also a time to seriously come to terms with their faith in Jesus and what it means to be his disciple. They are experiencing a change in their life. They are moving away from what they know, from what they feel comfortable about, and into the unknown. Jesus is calling his disciples to follow him to Jerusalem. He is calling them to change, to be on the way together with him.
As a congregation we are people on the way too. We are in the midst of change. It has also become a time for us all to reflect back over our ministry, and to examine our faith in Jesus and our relationship to him. Change can be a difficult time. It doesn’t matter who you are whether a student moving from primary school to high school, high school to university or employment, or whether you are moving house, entering the hospital for an operation, or perhaps losing a friend, change involves moving into the unknown. As with all changes brought to us in our life we need to reflect on the pass, draw strength from it and move on. The last sentence makes it all sound so easy, but it’s not.
God is aware of the difficulties that people have when they are faced with the need to change their life. And so, in our text we find Jesus helping his disciples, preparing them to move on into new experiences. It appears that the disciples don’t really understand what is before them, but none the less, Jesus is on the way with them helping them where they need strength.
It is easier to cope with change for example, when there is a friend at the new school, a friend in the new neighbourhood, a friend at the new sports club, or a friend at the church where one is going for the first time. It is easier to cope with change when a friend has gone before you that can show you the way, the obstacles to avoid and the benefits available.