READ: Mark 8:27-9:1 (esp. v29)
- As always, context is critical. Mark 8:32 through 10:52 form a long pericope (unit), framed by the healing of blindness. In between, the disciples are displayed as being spiritually blind. Just prior to the first healing (8:1-21), Jesus asks a series of questions about being able to see and understand. Mark is preparing us for the stories about to unfold between those healings.
- Jesus asks the disciples who people think He is, and they report the group-think of the day: “a prophet, John the Baptism or Elijah.” Jesus then asks who they think He is. Peter speaks, “You are the Messiah—the Christ.” Peter conceded what every Jew had longed for generations, that God may have sent the one who would save Israel and release them from their bondage.
- It was a huge admission. It was a risk. There had been (and would be) lots of claims to be the Messiah. Most Jews were skeptical of Jesus. But the disciples had witnessed miracles, heard His teaching, and lived with Jesus, watching His love and compassion. They saw in Jesus all they thought they might expect to see in the One sent from God. So, Peter voiced what everyone hoped. God was here.
- Why do you think it was so hard for people to believe in Jesus in the first century?
- Do you think believing is harder or easier today? Why?
- What do you think Jesus meant when He said Peter was not setting his mind on the things of God (v33)?
PRAY: Thank God for sending Jesus to earth on our behalf. Pray for a growing confidence in Jesus. Ask God to help us produce confidence in others as they see our confidence in Him.