Father in heaven, as I set aside the things that constantly demand my attention and turn my eyes to you, I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear. Holy spirit, instruct me, and illuminate my mind to the riches of your word.
Today I’m looking at Mark 8:27-30, just four verses. Read them through several times, considering each phrase and sentence.
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
(Mark 8:27-30 ESV)
Jesus is alone with his disciples. He asks first, “Who do people say I am?” and they answer. “Some people say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah.” Then he asks, “But who do you say I am?” And Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
There are a lot of arguments in the world today over who Jesus is (or was). A few say he never existed at all. Some say he was a good man, a teacher, a sage, or guru. Some say he existed, but not as we read in the Bible. And some, like myself, say he is the Christ. The Messiah, predicted by the prophets of the Hebrew tradition. The lamb born to take away the sins of the world.
And what I get from this passage is, many people will say many things. But what Jesus seems to be most concerned with, at least here, is who his followers believe him to be. My simple challenge to myself and to other followers of Christ is to be sure of who he was and who he still is. My hope is that we, his followers, will hold firm to who Peter proclaimed him to be: the Christ.
There is no point in arguing about who Jesus is with people who are not his followers. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice, and they know who he is. Instead, we should hold fast to the hope we have because we know he was more than a good teacher, more than a guru or a rabbi, more than an incarnation of “a” deity. Jesus Christ was, is, and will always be our sacrifice for sin, our savior, our redeemer, our Lord and our master—as well as our teacher, our friend, and our brother.
All around us, people want to argue about Jesus. Instead, let’s know who he is and love who he is and live to honor and glorify who he is. Let’s follow him, learn from him, tell others abut him, and love him for all eternity.
I love that Peter was the first to say who Jesus was. We know that Peter’s life was one of many failures… but it was also one of much faithfulness and fruitful ministry. My prayer is that, like Peter, out of my knowledge of who Jesus is will come a devotion to following his teaching and letting him be Lord of my life, day by day.