Thursday 17 February 2011

Bible Book:

"But who do you say that I am?" (v. 29)

Mark 8:27-33 Thursday 17 February 2011


Today's passage marks a turning point in Mark's Gospel. So farJesus has spent much time in public preaching and teaching,combined with private sessions with his disciples. From now on hewill make his way to Jerusalem and most of his conversation will bewith the disciples. Chapter 8 has already focussed on the issue ofinsight into the significance of Jesus and his activities. Verses22-26 told the story of a man coming to sight by stages.Today's passage shows the disciples, through Peter on their behalf,taking the first step in understanding, but by their reaction inverse 32 reveals that they still have a long way to go.

There was a belief that before the Messiah came to usher in God'srule, one of the prophets of the past would return to announce hiscoming (see Malachi 4:5 and compare with Deuteronomy 18:15). Popular speculation is thatJesus is such a figure. The disciples (Peter at least) can see thathe is more than that.

Why does Jesus order them to keep silent? The answer must lie inverse 31. The title "Messiah" was applied to many different typesof saviour-figure: a military leader, a king, a priest, a religiousteacher. Unqualified use of the title in connection with Jesuscould lead to all kinds of popular reaction. The truth is that hewill bring salvation through his rejection, death and resurrection.The disciples resist this, but only when that truth has beengrasped, as it will be after the resurrection, can the title befreely used.

Earlier in his Gospel, Mark has shown Jesus being tested by Satan(Mark 1:13). His reaction to Peter in verse 33suggests not only that Peter is being misled, but that Jesus toofinds his future calling hard to face up to, and Peter's words area temptation.

To Ponder

How would you express the significance of Jesusin a way that people today might understand?

Verse 31 presents Jesus' suffering as anecessity. Why do you think that should be?

Previous Page Wednesday 16 February 2011
Next Page Friday 18 February 2011