Mark- The Gospel of Action - Who Do You Say That He Is?
October 17, 2019, 12:46 PM

Mark: The Gospel of Action

Who Do You Say That He Is? – Mark 8:11-21, 27-9:1


I shared a couple of weeks ago about an evening in my past when I was feeding one of our, at the time, foster sons who would eventually become our adopted son. As I held his 3 week old little body close to me I began to speak into his little ear that his daddy loves him – and that Jesus loves him. At that time I had a hope that he would stay with us in our family, but I didn’t know what the future held for that little guy, but in my heart he was already my son. I wanted to care for him and raise him in the Lord. I wanted to protect him from the world. I knew more about what was happening in his life than he did – I wanted the privilege of helping him navigate the hurdles set before him that he knew nothing about right then. What an honor that would be to help him become the man that God has designed for him to be.

God has adopted us in this way. Jesus knowing more about our situation than we do – knowing us more intimately than we know ourselves - has accepted us as His own children. He has done the hard work of sacrifice in atonement of our sins – so that we could be redeemed for relationship – with Him – Loving God, with each other – Loving Each Other and in Loving the people of your world. He has redeemed us for these purposes – His purposes – so that we might follow in His footsteps.

In the middle of Mark chapter 8 Jesus asks the question of all questions of His disciples. They were the first ones who He had adopted as His own. The disciples, who were probably young men when they were called, left everything and essentially Jesus their Rabbi became like their father. It was up to the Rabbi to pour His life into His disciples, through teaching and experiences. The end result would be that the disciple’s lives would become extensions of their Rabbi and that they would literally follow in their Rabbi’s footsteps and carry on His ministry after the Rabbi is gone. Isn’t that the greatest testimony of a parent’s hard work, that his children would choose to follow in his footsteps. So when Jesus asks this important question keep this dynamic of the “Rabbi/ Disciple – Father/Son” relationship in mind.

Mark 8:27-9:1 (NIV)
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?"
28 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets."
29 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus asks – “Who do you say that I am?” As a Rabbi this question has incredible significance. The expectation is that the disciple would carry the mantle of his Rabbi, so asking this question was a real test to determine whether or not His disciples knew who they were going to follow, what mission they were accepting. In other words – what is the family business?

Peter says – “You are the Christ.”

Christ (Christos in Greek is the equivalent word of Messiah in the Hebrew) which means literally “the anointed one”. The Hebrew equivalent word “Messiah” was used in reference to the priest and especially the High Priest in (Leviticus 4:3, 5, 16), the Prophets were referred to in this way as Christ in the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) as “hoi christoi Theou” - "the anointed of God," (Psa. 105:15) and the Hebrew Kings were called “Christos tou Kuriou”, "the anointed of the Lord," (1 Sam. 2:10, 35; 2 Sam. 1:14; Psa. 2:2; Psa. 18:50; Hab. 3:13, Isa. 45:1)Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

In Jesus case this descriptive word became a title of identification, which distinguished Him from all others. He was not an anointed man of God, but the anointed one. This title encompassed the fulfillment of all three previous positions of leadership in Israel. Jesus the Word becoming flesh was the fulfillment of the Prophets, He has become humanities High Priest - redeeming man to God and He has become the King of all kings. “Long live the king” – no, actually, He is the King that will live forever. Jesus is “The Anointed One” – the Prophet, Priest and King.

Peter answered well in calling Jesus the Christ, the anointed one. He was in fact acknowledging the mission and purpose, which he and all subsequent disciples would continue to follow.

The sons/ disciples of Jesus Christ (the anointed one) would become the anointed ones themselves. Paul wrote about this in address of the Corinthian Church saying…

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV)
21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ: we take on His anointing to carry out His mission of redemption of all people.

Jesus continues on in this passage explaining this further…

Mark 8:27-9:1 (NIV)
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.
32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
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."

Peter was right in calling Jesus – The anointed one – what he didn’t understand is what that anointing was for. To be anointed meant that you were set apart for a specific purpose. While Peter recognized that Jesus purpose was great and distinguished, he did not yet grasp the way in which Jesus anointing would be fleshed out – So Jesus says –“You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” This really helps us understand why, once again Jesus told them not to tell other people who He was. He asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered correctly – “You are the Christ.” But while He answered correctly, “You are the Christ.” He did not understand what that means. Jesus spells it out to His disciples and to a crowd standing by, which He now begins to address...

Mark 8:27-9:1 (NIV)

34 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.
35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
38 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."
9:1 And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."

This is not what the crowds wanted to hear. This is not what Jesus closest companions – His Disciples – His Children wanted to hear. We don’t want to hear this now.

Jesus didn’t come for fame and fortune. He didn’t live His life to make us all financially rich and living the life of entitlement. The model of anointed figures that these disciples had were all flawed in this way. The Prophets, Priests and Kings of history were all corruptible. These positions within their societal structure often degraded to pride-filled, selfish consumption. The phrase, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” , certainly applies here as these men were susceptible to the temptation to use their power afforded to them by their status of being “The Lord’s anointed” for there own personal gain.

The Jews of Jesus day wanted an anointed King that would reestablish them nationally by force as a world power, for personal gain. Jesus disciples, thinking that he was the answer to these common desires, saw their position with Jesus as a path to privilege.

Peter said you are the Christ, the anointed one, with all of its privileges and in essence he was saying, “I’d be glad to follow you.” He had the right distinguishing label for Jesus, but not the understanding.

So Jesus gives Peter a new definition for what this anointing means.

Mark 8:34-36 (NIV)

…"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Take up your cross. Jesus is not talking about a cute little pendant around your neck or a fish sticker on the back of your car. The cross represented the most brutal form of punishment imaginable. Jesus is foreshadowing His imminent death on one of these instruments of cruelty. There is no doubt that He knew what was to come. His disciples on the other hand didn’t fully get what was to come, but everyone who heard Jesus speaking understood the gravity of His words as they had witnessed countless criminals carrying the heavy burden of their execution tree to the place where they would be tortured to death as an exhibition of Roman law and its power. This was the lowest of positions to be submitted to such cruelty. Paul called us to follow Christ in this way…

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

What is the family business? What was Jesus anointed for? What are we anointed/ set apart for?

The family business is personal sacrifice for the redemption of others.

This is not an attractive proposition for the casual listener. If that is you reading this I want you to know that God has so much more for your life than you are allowing Him access to right now.

He has called us to a life of sacrifice.

We struggle with this because we don’t want a life of sacrifice, we want the American Dream.

Mark 8:11-21 (NIV)
11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.
12 He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."

Just prior to this encounter Jesus had fed four thousand people and the Pharisees asked Him to perform a miracle. Isn’t what Jesus has done enough? He has called us to a life of sacrifice, not a life of privilege. The Pharisees saw themselves in a light of privileged position and they were demanding that Jesus perform for them even though He had proven Himself already time and again.

How often do we treat God in this way? He has met our needs. Showed up brilliantly in our trials and when we are pressed in life, when we are forced to struggle, to sacrifice we call out to Him for proof of who He is. It is not wrong to ask for His help, but we often doubt who He is.

When we know our Father we will follow Him no matter where He leads or what trials we face along the way. And while we expect His provision and His intervention we don’t demand such things, but rather - When you submit to a life of sacrifice you trust in His divine providence and sovereignty over your life and the world around you.

Mark 8:11-21 (NIV)
13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.
15 "Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."
16 They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread."
17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?
19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied.
20 "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, "Seven."
21 He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

The Yeast of the Pharisees that Jesus was talking about was this expectation of privilege that they were exhibiting – again “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose your soul.” As He shares this important point with them they are distracted. They are constantly distracted. We are constantly distracted. But Jesus keeps reminding us that in our lives He is always on point.

To live a life of sacrifice seems scary, the “what ifs” can begin to take over, as we overanalyze each decision. Jesus sent His disciples out with the clothes on their backs, and little preparation (We looked at this in Mark Chapter 6 not too long ago). The only thing Jesus emphasized is relationships that we go and do the work of the ministry together. He didn’t tell them to raise a ton of support. He didn’t tell them to put aside a nest egg. He said go together and leave the rest to me.

When you submit to a life of sacrifice you trust in His divine provision and concern for your life and the world around you.

Jesus reiterated to His disciples – that while they sacrificed a little to feed multitudes he provided through them and for them abundantly. This is what having God as your Father is like.

There is no greater investment that you can make with your life and your resources. Nothing will ever pay back dividends more than when you submit your life sacrificially to the mission of Jesus, giving yourself to the family business and following in the footsteps of your Heavenly Father. In this way only will your life truly be fulfilled. Who do you say that Jesus is? Your answer reveals what kind of life you will have and who you will be.

By Pastor Carl Friedel


10-17-2019 at 9:42 PM
Jo Ann
Jesus is my Lord and Master, my King in whom I give my all! Thank you, Lord, for such strong and faithful words of encouragement!
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