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February 21, 2019 Featured

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book PNG2112Gospel: Mark 8:27-33
Jesus set out with his disciples for the villages around Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” And they told him, “Some say, you are John the Baptist; others say, you are Elijah or one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” And he ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. He would be killed, and after three days rise again. Jesus said all this quite openly, so that Peter took him aside and began to protest strongly. But Jesus, turning around, and looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”

“Who do people say I am?”

Here is a turning point in the Gospel of Mark. Heretofore Jesus has performed a series of miracles and wondrous signs, all begging the question: Who is this man? Now Jesus puts the question di­rectly to his disciples: Forget about what others are saying. “Who do you say that I am?” By his impul­sive, heartfelt answer Peter seems to score an “A” on his Christology exam: “You are the Messiah!” But then almost immediately he flunks the course, and Jesus rebukes him. Where did he go wrong? It is not enough to identify Je­sus as the Messiah. It remains to understand what that means— that Jesus is a Messiah who will accomplish his mission by means of suffering and death. That is not what Peter and the others envi­sion. They are thinking more of a super­hero Messiah who will be invulnerable, who will smash their enemies, and establish an unbea­table kingdom. In other words, a Messiah who accepts the temp­tations that Jesus rejected in the wilderness.It is not enough for us to wor­ship Christ as the Son of God. Con­fession implies discipleship, which means following Christ, even on his path to Calvary. Only thus will we learn to see and “think as God does.”

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