Updated: Feb 23
THE SIMPLYREVISED PODCAST
Text: Mark 8:27-30 (ESV)
Who is Jesus? This is a question many people have asked. If you were to do a quick Google search, you may find some historical facts. He was a first-century Jewish teacher. He is the central figure in Christianity. You would find articles that say He was the Son of God. You may also find articles written by those who are skeptical. Was Jesus a real person at all?
Seemingly, from the time Jesus walked on this earth, there have been many opinions to the question, “Who is Jesus?”. Jesus Himself once asked His disciples this very question and it was answered with many different opinions.
MARK 8:27-30 (ESV)
“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?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; 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 strictly charged them to tell no one about him.”
Jesus is just not what people were expecting. The kingdom of God, the kingdom that Jesus establishes, is not what people were expecting. In fact who Jesus is and what Jesus is doing seems to be completely different from what many expected.
Jesus, receiving many different answers to the question, “Who do men say that I am?” asks a more direct question to His disciples. It’s really the question we need to ask ourselves. What others may say about Jesus is not as important as who we say Jesus is. What does Jesus’ life and teaching, His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead mean to me? That’s not to say that the opinions of others do not matter or that they are not important, but my salvation is not based on the opinions of others. My salvation is based on my understanding, my faith, who I believe Jesus is, not what others believe.
Peter answered Jesus and said, “You are the Christ.” What is Peter confessing? What is he saying about who Jesus is? Peter is confessing that Jesus is the anointed of God, the Messiah. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise made in (Gen. 3:15), and the One of whom the prophets foretold. He is Prophet, He is Priest, and He is King
Do We Follow?
With this understanding, Jesus begins to explain in more detail who He is and what it is that He must do.
“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.”
But this is not what people were expecting. It’s certainly not what Peter was expecting as we see through what he does next.
Mark 8:32-33 (ESV)
“And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 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.”
Jesus’ rebuke of Peter is striking. Following Jesus becomes an important theme in the passage. It’s also an important theme in Mark’s Gospel. Who are we going to follow? Jesus has warned of the teaching of the Pharisees, He has warned of the teaching of the Herodians (ref. Mk. 8:14). Will we follow Jesus or not?
Peter has just acknowledged that Jesus is God’s Anointed, the Messiah. He has just acknowledged that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets. However, Jesus is teaching things that Peter was not expecting. How is it that God’s Anointed would suffer and be killed? This is not according to Peter’s understanding. It’s not what Peter had envisioned as a plan forward in God’s kingdom. What happens? Peter steps forward and takes Jesus aside to rebuke Him. Peter is not following Jesus but trying to direct the plan. He is following his wisdom and not the wisdom of God. Satan, as we see in the Garden, will often tempt us to follow our wisdom and not God’s wisdom. When we do so, we step forward and take the lead in our own understanding.
Willing To Follow?
Who is Jesus? He is God’s beloved Son. He is One who teaches with authority (ref. Mk. 1:22). He has the power over unclean spirits, over sickness and disease. Even the wind and waves obey Him. Jesus has the authority to forgive sins (ref. Mk. 2:5). Who is Jesus? Mark, throughout his gospel, has been showing us and teaching us who Jesus is. He is God’s Anointed.
Following Him will not always be easy. To follow means we do not step forward and take the lead.
Mark 8:34-38 (ESV)
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Following Him means we must put His desires above all the other affections of our life. It means that God’s will comes before my will. It also means that we are willing to bear any burden for the sake of His kingdom.
We, like Peter, can be quick to give the “right” answer but do we understand what we are saying? What Jesus says is unexpected. In the culture of our day what Jesus says is “cross-culture”. We live in a culture that is all about “me”. What I want, what I desire, my rights, my freedom to choose anything I want to choose. Who has the “right” to tell me what I can or cannot do? To make the choice to surrender any of these in our day is truly cross-culture. Yet, it is what Jesus calls His disciples to do. To surrender.
It’s not what is expected. It seems to go against conventional wisdom at times. To save my life, I must lose my life for the sake of Jesus. We can set our desire on gaining everything the world has to offer us. Our priority can be to live the best life we can possibly live on this earth, enjoying the finest luxuries known to us, but it will not gain us anything if we lose our soul.
It seems upside down. It seems to go against conventional wisdom. However, it is what Jesus calls His disciples to do.
Following or Leading?
Who is Jesus? Are we willing to follow Him? My salvation is not based on the opinions of what others say about Jesus. Following Jesus is more than simply acknowledging who He is. A Christian is willing to surrender, trusting the wisdom of God, as we follow Him.
Scripture Quotations - The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.