Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Who do YOU say that Jesus Christ is?

Mark 8:27-31 NLT 
  27 . . .As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
  28  “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” 
  29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” 
  30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. 
  31  Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.

Jesus had just moments earlier made a blind man to see, right before their eyes. I don't know how many people they had seen do that but I'd bet it was somewhere between zero and zero. They had seen him do so many supernatural miracles, that it may have become routine, if such a thing were possible.  Ho-hum, another lame man made instantly whole, another demon cast out, another vision restoration, just another day on the road with Jesus.  No, I'm sure they did not think of it in such a way, but they continued to miss some of the very important points of his teaching and purposes of his miracles.

Jesus desired them to recognize him for who he was-- the Son of God, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Sacrificial Lamb of God sent to atone for the sins of the world. They continued to see him as Jesus the miracle worker, Jesus the promised Prince of Israel who would turn the tables on oppressing nations. They had their Messiah agenda and Jesus had his, but these agenda's differed.  So, upon yet another impossible miracle, Jesus asked them to identify how people spoke about him. Then he nailed them with THE question-- but who do YOU say that I am. 

This was a very special question. If they said Messiah, he would ask them what they expected of Messiah. He had already explained to them about his death and resurrection and would again, though they would miss it one more time. If they said they did not know, he might reject them for not paying attention. They all remained silent until Peter-- the impetuous one, the one who would speak when others remained silent. The one who always spoke even when he should have remained silent. But this time he was right to speak. "You are the Messiah. Undoubtedly there was more to the conversation allowing Peter to explain what he meant by 'The Messiah,' but he must have gotten it mostly right for Jesus told them to sit on that knowledge for a while longer, and then explained, again, about his death and resurrection. Even with this great confession by Peter, he would lose faith one more time as he was confronted with what Jesus had just described would happen. He would struggle to believe in the empty tomb. He was the practical man who lived by practical ways and only could accept what his senses told him and common sense verified. So miracles and ministry were a real stretch for Peter.

In the end, Peter stepped up to what Jesus had prepared him to do and he lead the church, then died with many of its early leaders as a martyr. But who do YOU say Jesus is right now today?

Your servant in Christ's love

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