Good morning. Welcome and thank you for joining us this morning both here in person and online. Today we have the privilege to explore what many describe as the pinnacle/the turning point/the climax of Jesus’ ministry. It is my hope this morning that today’s message will challenge you, give you hope and secure the anchor of our lives on the cornerstone of our faith, Jesus.
We are continuing in Mark chapter 8 if you would like to turn there. But before we jump into the text let’s look at where Jesus is in his ministry. Jesus has been traveling around teaching and performing miracles. He has been traveling the area around the sea of Galilee. He has moved through Jewish areas and Gentile areas. He fed thousands multiple times, raised people from the dead, cured people of their diseases, he has taught, he has walked on water, he has commanded the weather to obey him, and he has driven out demons.
Speculation and anticipation are all around him. Last week we looked at Visual Clarity of a Spiritual Nature. We looked at the spiritual clarity of 4 different people or groups of people and compared what they could see in Jesus. The people were the gentiles, the Pharisee’s, the disciples, and a blind man. The healing of the blind man took place in Bethsaida
Bethsaida is just north of the Sea of Galilee and east of Capernum. From here Jesus leaves to go north about 25 miles the the area of (SaySerRea) Caesarea Philippi. This is where we pick up today. Turn to Mark chapter 8:27-33.
27 Jesus went out with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the road he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They answered him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” 30 And he strictly warned them to tell no one about him. 31 Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days. 32 He spoke openly about this. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.”
This account is in all three of the synoptic gospels. This makes sense because of the importance of this event. The parallel sections of scripture are Luke 9:18-22 and Matthew 16:13-23.
We are going to look at the confession of Peter, the prediction of Jesus, and the correction of Peter. We will look at 3 mental barriers that people face with regards to Jesus.
The Confession of Peter
The Confession of Peter
They are traveling north when they enter the region. Luke tells us that Jesus and his disciples have stopped and Jesus goes off to pray. Jesus regroups with his Disciples and then starts the test if you want to call it that. Everything in Mark so far has built up to this moment. This moment transitions the ministry of Jesus. The disciples have been with Jesus for approximately 2 1/2 years. They are 6 months away from the crucifixion. Jesus asks them,
“Who do people or crowds say that I am?” What have people concluded? What has human logic decided.
They start to give him some of the the answers they have heard, John the Baptist, Elijah, and of the profits. These are all very high conclusions but not correct conclusions.
They start with John the baptist, this was a common thought as even when King Herod heard about what was going on he concluded in
16 When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!”
Elijah was taken straight into heaven and Malachi predicted his return.
5 Look, I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.
Others claimed he was Jeremiah on others profits. People were amazed at what this Jesus was doing. The must have been scouring the old testament for who this man was. They were coming to any conclusion possible but they could not see the really answer. Jesus then asks his second question:
29 “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”
He asks them directly who do you say I am. Peter takes the lead for the group and declares that He is the Messiah, The Christ, the anointed one of God. Matthew add the “Son of the Living God”. Peter does not add any whishy washy language. There is no I think, or i believe or you might. Work Fun.
Peter stated directly and definitively who Jesus is
This is the second time that the title Christ has been used by Mark the last time was in
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
This is the moment that man links Jesus to being the Christ, the Messiah. The long awaited rescuer and King of Isreal.
To us this seems like a easy conclusion to make. Peter has seen so much during his time with Jesus. Peter even walked on water with him.
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
They had already claimed that he was the Son of God, so why is this such a big deal for him to confess he is the Messiah.
The Crowds and the disciples up to this moment have not been able to overcome one thing. They have spent 2 1/2 years with Jesus, seen amazing miracles and they hopped he was the Messiah. They would swing back and forth between is he or isn’t he. John the Baptist proclaimed that he was the Lord. He baptized Jesus and he even came to doubt.
2 Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples 3 and asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
So what was the issue? It is simple he wasn’t the Messiah they were expecting. In their human minds they had developed a Messiah that would best suit them, a king, a ruler, a warrior that would deliver them from their oppressors. This was the Messiah that would benefit them the most. Was the man who stood before them actually the Messiah?
Do we not have the same mental barrier to overcome as well. Notice that not everyone was seeking to know who Jesus was. Just like today. But there were those that were following Jesus and intrigued by him. There are friends and neighbors that believe that Jesus is special that he is a prophet or a special teacher or something else. They give him credit for being something higher but they do not break through to believe he is actually the Christ, the anointed one of GOD.
So how did Peter break through:
17 Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven.
This innate mental barrier exists in all of us and it was overcome or will only be overcome when the holy spirit reveals it to us and we believe that it is true. We want a savior that meets our personal wants and needs. One who elevates us. One who does not hold us accountable to our sins, does not let us struggle, does not challenge our political opinions, or thought on society. Many come to a point that just cannot have a Lord that does not align with their own thoughts. So the Holy Spirit is given to overcome this.
21 At that time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure. 22 All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him.”
This is the transition point of the Gospels. Christ is claimed and a shift in teaching begins and it starts with Jesus STRICTLY Warning them not to tell anyone about him.
Why? Because Jesus has not revealed everything to them yet. They know who He is but they do not know path Jesus will take to save and rescue His people.
Jesus from this point forward starts to teach them the specifics of the path He will take.
The Prediction of Jesus
The Prediction of Jesus
31 Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.
The moment that Jesus was reveled as the Christ the Messiah so was the cross. Jesus would continue to teach his death and resurrection all the way to the cross.
Later in Mark,
31 For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.”
33 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles,
The disciples would struggle with this teaching even after Jesus death. But this was God’s Plan. Why would they struggle. It seems so simple.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
From this point forward the direction was towards the cross. This was another mental barrier that the disciples had. They were through the first and knew Jesus was the Christ but now Jesus’ plan to rescue them did not fit their plan. How often do we get upset with God’s plan for our lives? How many of us know Jesus but we are upset with his plan as we look outside the walls of the church? God this cannot be what you planned for me! This cannot be what you want! Why won’t you just do it my way?
But his ways are not our ways.
Pride fights against us in this. This sin in us rebels against submission to God’s ways and our pride will start to let us believe that we not only know his thoughts and his ways are our ways but that our thoughts and ways are higher than His.
This opens the door for Satan to use us against the plans of God.
The Correction of Peter
The Correction of Peter
32 He spoke openly about this. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.”
Peter after solidifying His name in history as the one to declares Jesus the Chris, the highlight of his life. There will never be a higher moment in his life, turns to probably the lowest and worst point in his life.
Peter feeling pretty good about himself takes Jesus away from every one and starts to rebuke (admonish or warn forcefully) Matthew records at least one of his statements
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to you!”
Wow. I can’t imagine the thought process. I just connected you to the Anointed one of God and know I am going to pull you aside to rebuke you.
What would you do if your kid came home with a straight A report card and right after you praise them for their accomplishment and you tell them your plan to reward them on a trip to Disney land, they pull you aside and rebukes you for not going to the grand canyon.
Jesus turns back to his disciple so that they could all hear what he was about to say.
33 But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.”
This would lead us to believe that this was not only Peter’s thoughts. Why would he address the disciples as a whole if the rebuke wasn’t for them all at some level.
These passages mimic those in Chapter 1. When immediately after Jesus was baptized he was tempted by Satan.
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.” 12 Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him.
Christ is proclaimed and Satan attacks through the lure of Peter trying to provide another way. Jesus responds with “Get behind me Satan.” In Matthew, Jesus says it is a stumbling block, a trap, or a hindrance to him.
What a powerful reprimand. Could you think of anything worse Jesus could say to you? It is obvious from his followup statement that Peter does not understand where he missed the mark. Jesus goes on to tell Peter that he is not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns. Peter understands that Jesus is the Christ but still has to work though his own thought on things. Paul writes to the Roman Church.
5 For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit.
This leads us to the 3rd mental barrier that we will discuss today and that is where we focus our mind when we are challenged. Do we focus on the concerns of this world or the concerns on God. Every day we are bombarded with issues that concern us, Corona Virus, Chop, Black Lives Matter, Presidential Race, Failing Economy, Masks or not… the list goes on and on. Each and every one of these issues and the thousand others we should be asking questions that determine God’s concerns with these issues. We are being asked and forced to choose sides on many of these topics. But we only have one side and that is the side of Jesus. To pray for discernment on how to engage or not engage.
When you post on facebook are you concerned with God’s agenda our yours. When you comment on someone else’s post who’s concerns are you focused on? When you protest who’s agenda are you advancing? I have seen both and the look very different many times.
Peter’s Confession, Jesus’ Prediction and Peter’s correction are the tipping point for the beginning of the 2nd phase of Jesus’ ministry.
This moment is the knifes edge between heaven and hell. In or out. Nothing else of value separates us. You either believe he is the Christ and that his prediction came true that he rose on the 3rd day after his crucifixion or you do not. Of the many thousands that Jesus interacted with during his ministry only a small portion of them would stand with Jesus in the end.
We live in a world today that wants to conform Jesus to their image of who a savior should be. There are people who don’t care who or what Jesus is, there are others that acknowledge him but refuse to claim him as the Christ. then there is the very dangerous group that claims him as their Christ but only if he conforms to their view of the world. These are the false teachers of our generation. There are many and their words are tempting because to follow their idea of Jesus is much easier than to follow the Jesus in the bible. As we continue in Mark we will see what following Jesus looks like.
But oh the wonderful blessing to be one who submits to teaching like Romans 12.
1 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. 3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
Is Jesus completely new to you and you are just starting your journey in exploring Jesus? I encourage you to continue seeking until you can claim him as the Christ. The savior of your life.
Have you been exploring him for a long time and intellectually you cannot deny he is special but you have not had the same confession as Peter by settling that he is the Christ. All that is left is the confess him as Christ. The one who died for your sins so that you may be saved. I urge you to seek out myself or Chris or anyone else to help you through that.
Maybe you are saved and the concerns of the world have guided you away from the concerns of God. Today is the perfect moment to change direction and align your mind to the mind of Christ.
And a warning about false teachers. There are many that are popular and successful and have many followers. There are others that share that they have special knowledge if you follow them. There are others that were once sound in their view of Jesus and have now given up on the narrow path of following Jesus to the easy path to destruction. Do not fall in to a trap. Question and vet everyone who you follow.
I would like to end with some words of Peter:
Read 1 Peter 1:3-12
Let us pray.