Peter’s Confession

 Mark 8:27-35 (Peter’s Confession)

Connects to: PETER

            Then Jesus and his disciples went away to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Tell me, who do people say I am?”

            “Some say that you are John the Baptist,” they answered; “others say that you are Elijah, while others say that you are one of the prophets.”

            “What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

            Then Jesus ordered them, “Do not tell anyone about me.”

            Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will rise to life.” He made this very clear to them. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But Jesus turned around, looked at his disciples, and rebuked Peter. “Get away from me, Satan,” he said. “Your thoughts don’t come from God but from human nature!”

            Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him. “If any of you want to come with me,” he told them, “you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it.”

Mark 8:27-35 (Good News Translation)

Notes

This event occurred midway through Jesus’ ministry, but it set the stage for the events of Passion Week.

John the Baptist’s ministry had overlapped with that of Jesus. In a pre-Google age, it’s quite possible that some people confused the two. There was also a legend (fueled by Malachi 4:5) that the fiery prophet Elijah would return to earth. But Peter calls Jesus the Messiah, literally “the Anointed One.”

The Hebrew Scriptures had a number of prophecies about a leader who would be specially empowered to do God’s work. Some saw this Messiah as a king; others as a prophet or priest. Jesus shocked Peter and the disciples by describing a painful future, in which he would suffer and die, but then rise again. Peter tried to dissuade him from this essential mission—and earned a serious smackdown.

Jesus’ questions are still pertinent: What are people saying about him, and what do you say?

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