Summary: Important spiritual truths pertaining to the cross
SERIES: WALKING WITH JESUS
“THE SERVANT REVEALS”
There is a great story in 2 Kings 6. The nations of Aram (Syria) and Israel are at war. The king of Aram decides he will muster his troops in a certain place to set up an ambush. The prophet Elisha discerns where they will be and informs the king of Israel. The army of Israel avoids that place and the ambush.
The same thing happens several times. The king of Aram believes there is a traitor somewhere in his chain of command. Let’s pick up the events of this story at vs. 11.
2 Kings 6:11-17 – “This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, ‘Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?’ ‘None of us, my lord the king,’ said one of his
officers, ‘but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your
bedroom.’ ‘Go, find out where he is,’ the king ordered, ‘so I can send men and capture him.’ The report came
back: ‘He is in Dothan.’ Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and
surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh, my lord, what shall we do?’ the servant asked. ‘Don't be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
Every one of us suffers from different conditions of spiritual blindness. Last week in our study through the Gospel of Mark, we saw that both the enemies of Jesus and his closest disciples suffered from forms of this malady.
In the passages of Mark that we’re studying together this morning, Jesus begins to reveal some important spiritual truths to his followers. His earthly ministry is coming to a close. The time for his death, burial and resurrection would soon be upon him. At this point in Mark’s Gospel, it is only seven to nine months until the final week. The cross looms large in the distance.
Everything about Jesus’ mission is dependent on the cross. There are some essential concepts that Jesus’ followers must grasp. Jesus removes the cover to unveil these concepts. As Christ’s followers in the 21st century, we need to grasp these concepts as well. The entire scope of Christian living rests on these concepts.
SUFFERING LEADS TO GLORY
Jesus wants to spend some “alone time” with his disciples away from the crowds and the distractions of battling with the Jewish religious leaders. He takes them to a place about 25 miles north of Bethsaida to the region of Caesarea Philippi at the foot of Mt. Hermon.
The town of Caesarea Philippi was built by Herod Philip. He named it after Caesar Augustus and himself. In this town stood a marble temple dedicated to emperor worship. Warren Wiersbe notes, “It was a place dedicated to the glory of Rome and that glory is now gone, but the glory of Jesus Christ remains and will go on eternally.”
Mk. 8:27-30 – “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.”
If you asked people what others said about you, it might seem like you had a problem with pride. Jesus asks the question as a teaching technique. He is using one question to prepare his disciples to answer the most important question of all. What people believe and say about us is not necessarily all that important. But what people believe and say about Jesus Christ is extremely and eternally important.
Who do people say Jesus is? There are many opinions and ideas and most of them are wrong. It’s not enough to discuss what other people think. You have to answer the question yourself.
Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” The good news is that Jesus invites you to weigh the evidence, to search the Scriptures, to see what he did and to wrestle with all that he said and did. But at some point the question has to be called. You need to reach a verdict.