Gospel: Mark 8:27-38
Epistle: Rom. 5:1-11
Lesson: Gen. 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm: Psalm 22:23-31
CLB Commentary – Rev. David Rinden
The coming of the kingdom of God was central to the testimony of Jesus. Eagerly awaited by the people of Israel, many prophesies of the Old Testament were now fulfilled. But first Jesus needed to be presented as we see in the first eight chapters of Mark. Here is where we come to the critical point in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus needs to prepare his disciples for Jerusalem and all that will happen there. The kingdom is about the cross and his death and the disciples need to understand this.
Jesus begins with a question as they stand among the stately buildings of Ceasarea Philippi that represented worldy power: “Who do people say I am?” Was he only a man who went about doing good? Was he here to challenge the power of Rome?
The disciples had a ready answer. “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” (Mark 8:28, NLT).
Jesus wasn’t satisfied. If they were to go with him to the cross it didn’t make any difference what all the other followers thought of Jesus. He wanted them to fully understand who he was. In the Greek text the word you in Jesus’ question is emphatic. And Peter, it seems, did understand. “You are the Messiah.” (Mark 8:29, NLT)
Once they make this confession, Jesus begins to speak to them about his coming death and resurrection; not a subject they were so interested in hearing. However, from now on Jesus again and again reminds them about his death and resurrection. This is the Good News Mark writes about as he begins this Gospel.
Although Peter made the right confession, he still looks at the cross from a human point of view. There is no mistaking where this teaching comes from: Satan.
We are not shielded from the suffering of the cross. While our suffering does not save us. Only Christ’s cross can do that. Jesus invites us to walk with him; and that means bearing the cross.