Mark 8:27-38 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Who Do You Say I Am?
Comments for Study 14

Mark 8:27-38
Memory Verse: 29

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I. You Are The Christ (27-30)

Jesus' Mid-Ministry Travels Jesus' Mid-Ministry Travels

>1. Where were Jesus and his disciples going?

* Mark 8:27 "Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"

* According to the previous verses (22-26) they had been at Bethsadia where Jesus healed a blind man. He healed him in stages to illustrate that we are being renewed in stages; with our physical restoration taking place when we will see Jesus "as he is" "with our own eye" when he comes again. He told the man not to go home to keep the crowds of people from following them as they travelled to the northern secluded areas.

* Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion are six months away. He wanted to brace his disciples for what was about to take place. He wanted to teach his disciples alone.

* Caesarea Philippi is about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee at the edge of land given to the Israelite tribes of Dan and Manasseh. (Deuteronomy 3:8-9, 4:48; Joshua 11-13, 19:47-48, 21:5; 1 Chron. 5:23)

* The environment was scenic and secluded, one of the most lush in Palestine.

* This area was once the center of Baal worship. (Judges 18:29-30; 1 Kings 12:29-30)

* As the name indicates (Caesar and Caesarea) the Roman's had claimed and built up this area around Mt. Hermon. There were three cities called Caesarea around Palestine in Jesus' day. The one that they were going to was to the north of Galilee.

Caesarea Philippi Sacred Terrace

* The picture to the right is a sacred precinct that has the Cave of Pan (an idol, a ancient false god) in the background and the temple remains of Pan and of Zeus. This is near Caesarea Philippi. (Matthew 16:13; Mark 8:27) This picture is as it is today. All that remains of the temples of Jesus' time are the foundations. Quite possibly here, in this lovely area watered by the cold, rushing streams, with rock cliff, sacred cave, cult niches and pagan temples as a backdrop, Jesus closely questioned his disciples as to what people thought of him and his mission. Because the Cave of Pan seemed to reach into the very depths of the earth, it came to be regarded as the entrance to the underworld, the abode of Hades (or Pluto), the god of the lower regions, and home to the disembodied spirits of the dead.

>What question did he ask them as they walked along together, and what was their answer?

* Mark 8:27-28 "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."

* "on their way" -Jesus was ministering to the villages in this secluded scarcely inhabited area. On the road the disciples would have been around Jesus with a small crowd behind him out of ear reach (Mark 8:30, 34). That is where Jesus sprung these two very important questions. This is where Jesus' true identity and mission was revealed to the disciples for the first time.

* Sometimes in the most unexpected places and times God reveals himself and his plans to us. Sometimes what he reveals to us is meant for us alone.

>2. What did people mean when they compared Jesus to Elijah?

* Elijah was to come before the Messiah, the Lord. (Malachi 4:5-6) Some people thought that Jesus was the forerunner of the Messiah (Christ).

* Elijah did many great miracles like Jesus was doing (1 Kings 17:13-22)

* Elijah was the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. He set up a school of prophets.

* In Elijah's days Baal worship was at it's peak in Israel. Elijah challenged Baal worship while other prophets were being killed. (1 Kings 18)

>To John the Baptist?

* John the Baptist spoke moving, truthful, and challenging words as Jesus did. (Luke 3:7-20)

* Some thought that perhaps John the Baptist excaped prison. Herod did not want to make it publicly known that he had beheaded John because of fear. So when people heard it some did not believe it.

>When they said he was a prophet?

* Deuteronomy 18:15-22 records Moses telling the people shortly before he died, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die." The Lord said to me: "What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death." You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."

* The prophets were to bring the word of God, the Lord, to the Israelites. The last prophetic book for Israel and Judah is Malachi. Malachi lived over four hundred years before Jesus.

* Jesus had recently finished long discussions with a group of religious leaders from Jerusalem. (7:1, 8:11) The people including the disciples had high hopes that the religious leaders would proclaim Jesus an official prophet; perhaps more than a prophet, the long awaited Messiah. (John 7:25-31)

>What would the people of our day say about Jesus?

* He was a good man, a good teacher of good living.

* He was a prophet, but not the Son of God and not the last and greatest prophet.

* He was a fraud.

* He was a person that the Bible does not portray correctly.

* He was a cult leader, an extremist.

* He meant good, but because he did not get along with the religious leaders he ended up being killed by them.

>3. What was the second question he asked them?

* Mark 8:29a "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

>Why should the disciples have a view of Jesus that is different from that of others?

* They had been with him for almost three years. They had listened to his words, they had seen him interact with them and other people, and they had seen all the miracles that he had done.

* Jesus directly taught them. He explained the meaning of all the parables to them in private.

* They had been given authority over demons and perform miracles. He had sent them out on short term ministries, thus experiencing the power of God.

>In what respect is this question harder to answer than the first question?

* They had to come to a direct and precise conclusion.

* They had to search their hearts. They had to be moved by the Holy Spirit.

* They had to come to their own conclusion, not other people's opinions.

* They had to make a public confession.

* They did not want to be wrong.

>4. How did Peter answer?

* Mark 8:29b Peter answered, "You are the Christ."

* Peter was often the person who spoke up. He was one of the older of the group. He was a brash fisherman. He was one of the twelve apostles and one of the three of Jesus' inner circle. Acts records him as being the main speaker of the church in Jerusalem.

>What is the most important difference in Peter's answer and the opinions of other people?

* It was revealed by the Father. (Matt. 16:17)

* Other people described Jesus from afar. Peter knew Jesus up close.

* God blessed his loyalty and commitment. He had the passion to speak what the others were thinking.

* Peter was probably a bit surprised what he blurted out. The Holy Spirit's strength is sudden and sure, often surprising and uplifting.

>What does "Christ" mean? (Isa. 9:6,7; 11:10; Mt. 1:21)

* Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

* Isaiah 11:10 "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious."

* Matthew 1:21 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

* Other verses include but are not limited to Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 2:2, 45:6-7; Malachi 3:1.

* Christ appears five hundred and one times in the New Testament, each time referring only to Jesus. Christ refers to Jesus' kingship. Today many people believe that Jesus’ sir name is Christ. It is not. People having sir names only started a few hundred years ago. Before that people had only one word for a name. However, sometimes when referring to a person, people would say that he was the son of someone. For example, James was called the son of Zebedee to distinguish him from James the son of Alphaeus (Matt. 10:2-3). In other cases a person's title and/or position was added to their name (i.e. King Herod, Tiberius Caesar, etc.). These practices did not mean that those men had sir names (although in some cultures centuries later this did happen). Thus, it is the same with Jesus.

Christ is not Jesus' sir name; it is his title. “Christ” refers to Jesus' kingly position. Christ is a Greek word with the same meaning as the Hebrew word Messiah. Jesus being the Messiah refers to his kingly linage stemming back to King David and at the same time looks to his future reigning as King of Israel and the world. When the Bible states Jesus is the Messiah; that is the Christ, it means that Jesus is the King, God's anointed one.

Throughout human history only two types of people were anointed with oil; kings and priests. (Ex. 29:29, 40:15, Lev. 7:36, 1 Sa. 2:10, 35, 10:1, 15:17, 15:13) Oil poured over their head was a symbol of the Holy Spirit coming over them. Jesus, the Christ, is God’'s special anointed one. (Ps. 2:2, Dan. 9:25) Jesus was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit as king and priest. (Luke 4:16-24, Acts 10:38)

* Jesus is the King of all; Jew and Gentile. Romans 15:12-13 states, “And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Jesse is the father of David, the boy who became the second king of Israel. David is Jesus' ancestor. Jesus is of kingly descent. Jesus is no ordinary king for he will rule over the nations, Jew and Gentile. Jesus full rule is not experienced now because most do not accept his rule. However, someday his full rule will be experienced. Jesus’ bride, both Jew and Gentile, hope in his eventual world rule.

>How do you answer Jesus' question, "What about you? Who do you say I am?"

* Jesus is my King, my Messiah, my Lord, my Savior, my friend. He is the passion of my heart, my longing, my desire. I hope and trust in him. He is my returning King, robbed in light and glory. He is my honor; hanging dead on the cross and walking out of the grave.

* Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone because of a great misunderstanding at the time concerning the Messiah's mission. Many believed that the "Anointed One" would come and destroy all of Israel's enemies and establish Israel as a whole and powerful kingdom again.

II. The Son of Man Must Suffer (31-33)

>5. After hearing Peter's confession of faith, what did Jesus begin to teach his disciples about how he would become the Messiah? (31)

* Mark 8:31 "He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again."

* This was the first time that Jesus taught the truth of his coming.

* The belief that the Messiah's coming as a conquering king is correct. However, the timing was not what the people wanted and believed. Human tendency is to ignore or belittle our need for a Savior of our own sin problem. We often blame our problems on outward people and things, like an oppressive leader, goverment, and/or society. So we look for deliverance from our outward problem while ignore the real need of a changed heart, mind, soul, and spirit.

>What would be his main work as the Messiah? (Isa. 53:4,5; Acts 2:24)

* Isaiah 53:4-5 "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."

* Acts 2:24 "But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him."

>6. How did Peter respond to this teaching?

* Mark 8:32 "He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him."

* "pulled him aside" -So that others wouldn't hear him.

>Why?

* Jesus had just complimented Peter. Perhaps he felt special and empowered enough to teach Jesus.

* Peter never wanted Jesus to suffer and die. He enjoyed the thought of Jesus being king and he ruling Israel with him.

* Matt. 16:22 records that Peter said, "Never Lord! This shall never happen to you!" John 13:37 records Peter's motives revealed during the last supper "Lord," Peter said, "Why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."

* Peter thought that he could defend Jesus with his strength.

* Peter didn't want to see Jesus suffer and die because he loved Jesus.

* Peter was dead serious, but dead wrong.

* Peter gave up his family and stable occupation, but he could not give up his human thinking.

* One moment we can be blessed with great insight, and the next moment be wrong. We are chosen by Jesus, but not complete. We are like sheep, ignorant and weak. Just because we are right about some things does not mean we are right about all things. We are cleansed of sins and filled with the Holy Spirit but we are redemption is not complete until he comes again.

>How did Jesus rebuke him?

* Mark 8:33 "But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

>Why do you think he used such strong language?

* His thinking was dangerous.

* Peter needed to be humbled.

>What should we learn here?

* God opposes the proud, but exalts the humble.

* To learn from Jesus, his mission from a personal postion of servitude.

* Don't become bitter when Jesus rebukes us. David wrote that the Lord's rod and staff comforted him. It shows he loves us.

* Hebrews 12:4-6 "In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

* To give up personal aspirations.

* Philippians 2:5-8 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!"

III. Basic Principles for the Christian Life (34-38)

>7. Why did Jesus include the crowd as well as his disciples in these teachings?

* Peter was not the only one who was thinking these thoughts. Jesus wanted to tell everyone the truth.

* They were all following Jesus with high hopes that were placed on a wrong understanding.

>What must one who follows Jesus do?

* Mark 8:34-38 "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

* Anyone in the crowd that followed Jesus could follow him in the way God intended, self denial.

* Jesus wants all to know what it means to truely follow Jesus.

* Jesus teaching of self denial is for all, not just the apostles.

>What does it mean to deny oneself?

* To not live to please one's self; one's flesh.

* To serve others.

* To not worry about myself.

* To not seek my own pleasure and comfort.

* Jesus is my best example of what it means to deny myself.

>To take up one's cross? (34)

* Cross means a sacrificial mission to save others, for the well being of others.

* Self sacrifice, pain and suffering so others may hear the truth.

* Rejection and humiliation for the truth of the gospel.

* A life that may end up in solitude, even though those who we serve don't know or initially accept what we did for them.

* A life of dedication in servitude that few, perhaps none will understand.

>8. What happens to one who tries to save his life?

* He loses it.

* Not necessarily in this life, but denial of eternal life with Jesus.

* Romans 6:5-8 "If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him."

>How do people try to save their lives?

* Serve self.

* Earn money

* Take vitamins, medications, and health supplements.

* Work hard for self, building a kingdom and saving us a retirement.

* Easy party life.

>How can one really be sure to save his life?

* Loose our life for Jesus and the gospel.

* Life by faith for Jesus and the gospel.

>What does "for me and for the gospel" mean?

* It means to preach and teach to Jesus, the good news of the kingdom of God. Live for Jesus and the gospel.

* It does not mean serve good causes with no meaning for Jesus and the gospel.

* It means put Jesus first in all I do; mind, heart, should, and action.

* Without Jesus and the gospel my life is useless and without reward.

* Jesus' missions' mission.

>9. What are the answers to the questions in verses 36 and 37?

* No good; nothing.

* Why? The world is all God's anyway. So we can not gain it. We can only be rewarded, inherit it, and be given it.

>In the light of this, how should we live?

* As Jesus lived.

* Lose the world and all in it to gain a good standing in Jesus' eye.

>10. What does Jesus say about his times?

* They are adulterous and sinful.

* Hosea 3:1-5 "The Lord said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes." So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you." For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days."

* Revelation 18:3 "For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."

>How can we live so that Jesus will not be ashamed of us when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels?

* Not ashamed of Jesus and his words.

* Have a clear standpoint as things get more and more sinful.

* Witnessing about Jesus can be intimidating for the sinful and bold and can grow violent. As the end of this age approaches quickly the wicked will grow more and more violent against those who believe and profess Jesus.

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