Summary: Jesus demonstrates that who He is is the most important question in any life.
Who Am I? Mark 8:27-33
In a posting just this last June, Kevin DeYoung, in his Restless and Reformed blog, describes what people say about Jesus today.
"There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
“There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
“There's Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
"There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.
"There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as Himself).
"There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes run faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
"Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.
"There's Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very Brittish).
"There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that ‘all you need is love.’
"There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
"There's Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding ‘the god within’ while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.
"There's Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, and inspiring people to believe in themselves.
"There's Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on 'the system.'
"There's Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.
"There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.
"There's Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.
"And then there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed, the one to deliver us from captivity, the goal of the Mosaic law, Yahweh in the flesh, the one to establish God’s reign and rule, the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim good news to the poor, the lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world." (Adapted from Kevin DeYoung).
Mark 8:27-33 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."
After many threats from Herod Antipas and the Pharisees in Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples go north to safer grounds in Ceasaria Philippi.
I. The Rumored Conclusion
As they traveled, Jesus poses a question: What are the rumors about who I am? They knew too well the rumors, they had heard the talk and had taken note. The people, including Herod, recognized that Jesus was an exceptional person, even one who was raised from the dead. Herod already said that Jesus must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. Others thought Jesus was a prophet.
Note: When men seek an explanation, we tend to look at the flesh and blood solution.
The popular opinion did not point to Jesus as being God in the flesh.
II. The Reasoned Confession
So Jesus asked, "Who am I to you?" Peter pointed to the heavenly view, the Father in Heaven. Matthew say, Peter added, "...the Son of the living God." Mark probably did not include it because he heard it from Peter, who humbly did not include it as bragging.
III. The Rational Caution