Mark 8:27-9:1 (Wednesday Evening Bible Study)

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

Mark 8:27-9-1

– Mark 8:27-30

– 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.

• Caesarea Philippi was outside of Galilee altogether, in the territory of Philip

– Originally it was called Balinas, asa a great center of the worship of Baal

– It has been called Banias, which is a form of Panias

• On the hillside there was a caver which was said to be the birthplace of the Greek god Pan, the god of nature

– From a cave in the hillside gushed forth a stream which was thought to be the source of the Jordan River

– Further up the hill rose a gleaming temple of white marble which Philip had built to the godhead of Caesar, the Roman emperor, who was regarded as a god

– The ancient religion of Palestine was in the air, and the memories of Baal clustered around. The gods of classical Greece brooded over the place. The Jordan would bring back to memory the history of Israel and the conquest of th land. And clear in the easter sun gleamed the marble of the holy place which reminded everyone that Caesar was a god

• There of all places, against the background of all religions and all history, Peter discovered that a wandering teacher from Nazareth, who was heading for a cross, was the Son of God

• It comes n the very middle of Mark’s gospel and it does so by design, for it comes at the gospel’s peak moment

– Who do others say that I am?

– Who do you say that I am?

• We have to answer that question for ourselves, sometimes on a daily basis

– No sooner had Peter made his confession than Jesus told him he must not tell anyone. Why? Because, first and foremost, jesus had to teach Peter and the others what the Messiah was truly supposed to be

– Jewish thoughts on the Messiah

• Before the Messiah came, there woudl be a time of terribel tribulation. There woudl be a messianic travail. It would be the birth-pangs of a new age. Every conceivable terror would burst upon the world; every standard of honor and decency would be torn down; the world would become physical and moral chaos

– The time which preceded the coming of the Messiah was o be a time when the world was torn in pieces and every bond relaxed. the physical and moral order would collapse

• Into this chaos there would come Elijah as the forerunner and herald of the Messiah

– He was to heal the breaches and bring order into the chaos to prepare the way for the Messiah

• Then there would enter the Messiah

– The word Messiah and the word Christ mean the same thing. Messiah is the Hebrew and Christ is the Greek for the Anointed One

• The nations would ally themselves and gather themselves together against the champion of God

• The result would be the total destruction of these hostile powers

– The Jewish philosopher Philo said that the Messiah would “take the field and make war and destroy great and populous nations”.

– The Messiah will be the most destructive conqueror in history, smashing his enemies into utter extinction

• There would follow the renovations of Jerusalem

– Sometimes this was thought of as the purification fo the existing city

– More often it was thought of as the coming down of the new Jerusalem from heaven

• The old house was to be folded up and carried away

• The Jews who were dispersed all over the world would be gathered into the city of the new Jerusalem

• Palestine would be the center of the world and the rest of the world subject to it. All the nations woudl be subdued

– Sometimes it was though of as a peaceful subjugation

– More often, the fate of the Gentiles was utter destruction at which Israel would exult and rejoice

– It was a grim picture. Israel would rejoice to see her enemies broken and in hell. Even the dead Israelites were to be raised up to share in the new world

• Finally, there would come the new age of peace and goodness which would last forever

• These are the messianic ideas which were in people’s minds when Jesus came. They were violent, nationalistic, destructive, vengeful.

– True they ended in the perfect reign of God, but they came to it through a blood bath and a career of conquest. Think of Jesus set against a background like that

• No wonder He had to reeducate His disciples in the meaning of what the Messiah was to be, and no wonder He was crucified in the end as a heretic. There was no room for a cross and there was little room for suffering love in a picture like that

– Mark 8:31-33

– 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.”

• It is against the background of what we have just seen of the common conceptions of the Messiah that we must read this

– When Jesus connected the Messiah with suffering and death, He was making statements that were to the disciples both incredible and incomprehensible

– That is why Peter protested so violently; To him the whole thing was impossible

– Peter was putting into words the very temptations which were assailing Jesus

• He didn’t want to die; He knew that He had powers which He could use for conquest; He was refighting the battle of temptations in the wilderness; this was the devil tempting Him again to fall down and worship him, to take his way instead of God’s way

• The tempter can make no more terrible attack than in the voice of those who love us and who think they seek only our good. That is what happened to Jesus that day; that is why He answered so sternly. Not even the pleading voice of love must silencefur us the voice of God

– Mark 8:34-35

– 34 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.

• There is the almost startling honesty of Jesus

– No on could ever say that they were induced to follow Jesus by false pretenses

– Jesus never tried to bribe anyone by the offer of an easy way

– He did not offer peace; He offered glory

– To tell the disciples they must be ready to take up a cross was to tell them they must be ready to be regarded as criminals and to die

• There is the fact that Jesus never called on anyone to do or face anything which He was not prepared to do and face Himself

– That is indeed the characteristic of a leader whom people will follow

– Jesus was not the kind of leader who sat remote and played with people’s lives like expendable pawns

– What He demanded they face, He was ready to face

– Jesus had a right to call on us to take up a cross, because He took His up first

• Jesus said of those who would be His disciples, “Let them deny themselves.” We will understand the meaning of this demand best if we take it very simply and literally

– Let them say not to self

– If we would follow Jesus Christ we must say no to ourselves and yes to Christ

– We must unhesitatingly say yes to the voice and command of Christ

– We must be able to say with Paul, “20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

– We no longer live to follow our own will, but to follow the will of Christ, and in that service we find perfect freedom

– Mark 8:36

– 36 For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?

• There are certain things which are lost by being kept and saved by being used. Any individual talent is like that. If it is used it will develop into something still greater. If someone refuses to use it, in the end that talent will be lost. Supremely so, life is like that

• Story of Telemachus (

• God gave us life to spend and not to keep

– If we live carefully, always thinking first of our own profit, ease, comfort and security, if our sole aim is to make life as long and as trouble-free as possible, if we will make no effort except for ourselves we are losing life all the time

– But if we spend life for others, if we forget health and time and wealth and comfort in our desire to do something for Jesus and for those whom Jesus died, we are winning life all the time

– The very essence of life is in risking life and spend life, not in saving it and hoarding it

– Mark 8:37

– 37 What can anyone give in exchange for his life?

• The real question Jesus asks is, “where do you put your values in life?” It is possible to put our values on the wron things and to discover it too late

– It is possible to sacrifice honor for profit

• We may desire material things and not be over particular how we get them. The world is full of temptations towards profitable dishonesty

– It is possible to sacrifice principle for popularity

– It is possible to sacrifice lasting things for the cheap things

• It is always easier to have cheap success

• But life has a way of revealing the true values and condemning the false as the years pass on. A cheap thing never lasts

– We may sum it all up by saying that it is possible to sacrifice eternity for the moment

• We would be saved from all kinds of mistakes if we always looked at things in the light of eternity

• Many things are pleasant for the moment but ruinous in the long run

• The test of eternity is of all tests the most real

• Those who see things as God sees them will never spend their lives on the things that are literally soul-destroying

– Mark 8:38-9:1

– 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Then he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”

• One thing leaps out from this passage; The confidence of Jesus

– He has just been speaking of His death; He has no doubt that the cross stands ahead of Him; but nonetheless He is absolutely sure that in the end there will be triumph

• The first part of the passage states a simple truth. When the king comes into His kingdom, He will be loyal to those who have been loyal to Him

– Jesus is saying, “In a difficult and hostile world, Christianity is up against it these days. If you are ashamed under such conditions to show that you are a Christian, if you are afraid to show what side you are on, you cannot expect to gain a place of honor when the kingdom comes.”

• The last part of this passage has caused much serious thought

– Jesus says that many who are standing there will not die until the see the kingdom come in power

– What bothers some people is that they take this as a reference to the second coming; but if it is, Jesus was mistaken, because He did not return in power and glory in the lifetime of those who were there

– But this is not a reference to the second coming at all

• Scarcely more than 30 years later, Christianity had swept through Asia Minor; Antioch had become a great Christian church. It had penetrated to Egypt; the Christians were strong in Alexandria. It had crossed the sea and come to Rome and swept through Greece

• Christianity had spread like an unstoppable tide throughout the world. It was asonishingly ture that in the lifetime of many there, against all expectations, Christianity had come with power

• More than that, the kingdom of God was ushered in with the Resurrection

– The amazing thing is that Jesus never kenw despair

• in the face of the dullness of human minds, in face of the opposition, in face of crucifixion and of death, He never doubted His final triumph—because He never doubted God. He was always certain that whyat human beings find impossible is completely possible with Him

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