Summary: 1) The Disciple’s Confession (Mark 8:27-33) and 2) The Disciple’s Lifestyle (Mark 8:34-38)

The merchant vessel, the Sun Sea slowly made its way south along the outer edge of Vancouver Island on Thursday night. It’s a small freighter packed with almost 500 smuggled migrants who had crossed the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of Canada. Whether it is by covert border crossings, human smuggling, work, visitor visas, or refugee claimants, there are many ways to get into Canada.

When it comes to getting to God, many people believe there are also many ways to Him. The broad way is through a simple fact of good intentions. As long as we are good people, by our own definition, then God should understand and allow us to Him. The narrow way, the `Road Less Traveled` is to be a follower of Jesus, a disciple, to walk His path, His way.

In order to follow, we must take the same road. In Mark 8:27-38, we see who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him on the ``Road Less Traveled``. In it we see: 1) The Disciple’s Confession (Mark 8:27-33) and 2) The Disciple’s Lifestyle (Mark 8:34-38)

1) The Disciple’s Confession (Mark 8:27-33)

Mark 8:27-33 [27]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?" [28]And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." [29]And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." [30]And he strictly charged 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 said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. [33]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." (ESV)

Jesus led his disciples some 25 miles north from Bethsaida (Ch. 8:22) to the district of Iturea dominated by Caesarea Philippi, the residence of Herod Philip. The capital was located at the source of the Jordan River on the slopes of Mount Hermon in a region famed for its beauty and fertility (The Gospel of Mark. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (289). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

• In this region, we hear both one of the most beautiful statements of who Jesus is, and a dangerous distraction from that beauty.

The initiative for this immortal confession belonged all to Jesus. He and his disciples were on the road somewhere among the tiny villages surrounding the city of Caesarea Philippi when he asked two questions. First: “‘Who do people say I am?’ Jesus is not asking for information on his own account. He wants the disciples to state the wrong opinions of people in order to set over against them their own correct conviction. These foolish opinions he does not care even to discuss; the disciples themselves will brush them aside (Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel (334). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.).

This general designation of people`` is usually shaded to mean those from whom revelation remains veiled (Chs. 1:17; 7:7f.; 9:31; 10:27; 11:30) as opposed to the disciples who have been extended special grace. The double question of verses 27 and 29 thus permits a sharp differentiation between the inadequate opinions of “`people” and the affirmation of faith uttered by Peter. (A distinction of those on the `broad Road` and those on the `Road Less Traveled`). (Lane, W. L. (1974). The Gospel of Mark. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (289). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

The disciples answered Jesus`question that some say you are: ‘John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and thers, one of the prophets’” (vv. 27, 28). The average people “on the street” thought he was great. They were impressed with his prophetic character, but did not have the slightest idea that he was the Messiah. From the point of view of Mark’s narrative, the precise form of popular belief is not important. What matters is that Jesus is popularly perceived as a prophet. To liken Jesus to John, Elijah, or a prophet was to rank him among the stellar figures in Israel’s long and illustrious history. That is an indication of Jesus’ preeminent standing in the popular mind. Yet even these comparisons are inadequate. Even if Jesus were a new Moses or Elijah, it would simply designate him as the reemergence and fulfillment of an earlier prototype. To say that Jesus is like Elijah, John the Baptist, or a great prophet — or, as we so often hear today, that he is the greatest teacher or moral example who ever lived — may seem like an honor and compliment, but it is ultimately to deny his uniqueness... (Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament commentary (247–248). Grand Rapids, Mich; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.)

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