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The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series B

Option #1: "The Caesarea-Philippi Opinion Poll"
Mark 8:27-35
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.D., M.Div.

1) The man on the street, v28; re: John & "Elijah," Mark 9:11-13

2) Peter’s answer on behalf of the Twelve, v29

    A. Jesus is "The Christ, The Son of the Living God" (Matt 16:16)

Albert Barnes:

Verse 16: And Simon Peter answered …Peter, expressing the views of the apostles, with characteristic forwardness answered the question proposed to them by Jesus: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

The Christ--The Messiah, the "Anointed" of God.

The Son--That is, the Son by way of eminence--in a special sense. See the notes at Matt 1:17. This appellation was understood as implying divinity, John 10:29-36.

Of the living God--The term "living" was given to the true God to distinguish him from idols that are dead, or lifeless blocks and stones. He is also the Source of life, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. The word "living" is often given to him in the Old Testament: Josh 3:10; 1 Sam 17:26, 36; Jer 10:9-10, etc. In this noble confession Peter expressed the full belief of himself and of his brethren that he was the long-expected Messiah. Other people had very different opinions of him, but they were satisfied, and were not ashamed to confess it.

    B. The Messianic Secret--Mk 9:9; Matt 16:20 passim

Holman Bible Dictionary

Why did Jesus want to keep His messiahship a secret?

Perhaps Jesus avoided the title due to the popular messianic expectations of the people--they were looking for a political deliverer. Some believe that Jesus prohibited messianic proclamation so that He could continue to move about freely in public. The only parable of Jesus which Mark recorded exclusively may provide a clue to the purpose of the messianic secret. Jesus introduced the parable of the secret growing seed. Like the seed which is covered by ground, the secret of Jesus’ identity would be concealed for a season: discovering the messianic secret would take time. Jesus did not force people to accept Him as Messiah; "those who had ears to hear" must learn the secret on their own. The disciples not only needed time to recognize Jesus as Messiah (4:41; 6:52; 8:17-21); they also needed time to come to terms with His messianic agenda: messianic suffering precedes messianic glory (9:31-32). Complete human understanding of the messianic secret would only be possible after the resurrection (9:9-10). Therefore, no immediate messianic profession would possess any depth of understanding.

Jesus forced the disciples to think about the secret until they could articulate the secret.  

3) The implications

    A. Jesus must die--Mt 16:21, 20:17-19; Mk 10:33ff; Lk 24:6-7, 26 & 44

Lawrence O. Richards in The Teachers Commentary:

Jesus’ coming death (Mark 8:31-33). Matthew, Mark, and Luke agree. As soon as Peter expressed the disciples’ conviction that Jesus truly is the Christ, Jesus 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."

This blunt, clear teaching upset the disciples. They didn’t want Jesus to die. Peter even took Jesus aside and began to "rebuke" Him!

Christ spoke sharply. "Out of My sight, Satan," Jesus said. And He added, "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

This last phrase is especially important. What seems right and reasonable to human beings is often totally out of harmony with God’s ways. We must learn to trust the wisdom of God, even when it seems to go against all that seems wise or best to us.


    B.  We must die (to self)--John 15:20-21; 2 Tim 1:8-12; 1 Peter 4:12-13

Lawrence O. Richards in The Teachers Commentary:

Choosing "death" (Mark 8:34-38). Jesus immediately applied what He had said to discipleship. God had determined Jesus’ own death on the cross. Through that death will come new life for Jesus (He will "after three days rise again") and also new life for those who believe in Jesus. But God had also determined that the way for disciples to experience that new life was through a self-denial like Jesus’ own!

He told the Twelve that if they were to "come after Me," they must also deny self, take up their cross, and follow Jesus.

The disciple’s cross is the choice of God’s will for the individual, even as Jesus’ cross was God’s will for Him. Self-denial is a rejection of human wisdom and desires that may conflict with God’s will. And "following" Jesus is staying close to Him, living in intimate daily relationship, by adopting His own commitment to please God.

What hinges on this kind of discipleship? Jesus said that the person who rejected discipleship and held on to his (old) life will lose it, while the person who loses his (old) life will save it.

A person who rejects discipleship will never know what he or she might have become if his or her life had been turned over to Jesus. Only if we commit ourselves fully to Him, and make the disciples. 

+   +   +



As long as I can remember and much longer than that, people have worn a cross as a necklace. It tells people that the person wearing it is a Christian. It says that the cross means something to that person. It reminds us that Jesus carried the cross long before anyone ever wore one.

Jesus said that he "must suffer many things and be rejected... and that he must be killed and after 3 days rise again."

Jesus did that to die for our sins and so that we could follow him all the way to eternal life. But the disciples didn’t get to go to heaven right away. Almost all of them lived 30 or more years after Jesus went back to heaven.

For those 30 years, they followed Jesus’ directions: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

You have your whole life ahead of you. Most of us here this morning have many more years behind us than ahead of us. You are the next Christians to live out Jesus’ words after we are gone.

To show you what Jesus means, listen to this story of an old shoemaker from many years ago. Some men met him outside of his shop and didn’t know anything about him. They asked him: "What is your work?" He said, I am a Christian. "No," the man said, "What is your profession?" Again he answered: I am a Christian. "No." the man said. "What I mean is what calling in life?" Sensing the questioner’s frustration, the old shoemaker said: I am a Christian, but I pay the expenses of my being a Christian by making and repairing shoes.

That’s what Jesus was talking about. See yourself as a child of God who is doing the Heavenly Father’s work. He will take care of all that you need and give you much more besides. One of your main jobs will be to teach your children about Jesus and to do all that you can to make sure they are on the Highway to Heaven. Make sure they understand that we are Christians, but that we pay the expenses of being a Christian by working at a job.

That way you will save your life for this life and for eternal life.

+   +   +

"No Jesus, No Hope; Know Jesus, Know Hope!"
Matthew 12:18-21
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

(The following is based on the Gospel reading, referenced above, appointed for Lutheran Women's Missionary League Sunday)
Goal: that we would look for, find, and share true and lasting hope
Malady: human(istic) hope based on self, perceived worthiness and strength, argument and noise
Means: Spirit-empowered faith which accepts God's gift of hope: Jesus' death and resurrection
1. erizo {er-id'-zo}, v19: to wrangle, engage in strife; used to describe the calm temper of Jesus in contrast with the vehemence of the Jewish doctors wrangling together about tenets and practices. (Strong's)
2. elpizo {el-pid'-zo}, v21: to hope; in a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence; hopefully to trust in. (Strong's)
3. [God's] name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e., for one's rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds, etc. (Strong's)
4. A person does not hope if there is nothing wrong or lacking, just as a ship does not dash off an SOS signal unless it needs help. (Ken Behnken)
5. Dr. Curt Richter of The Johns Hopkins University has repeatedly experimented with rats. He discovered that if you hold a rat firmly in your hand, so that no matter how valiantly he struggles he cannot escape, he will finally give up. At that point, if you throw that rat into a tank of warm water, he will sink and not even try to swim. He has learned to give up and that there is no point to struggling. There is no hope. On the other hand, if you throw another rat into the water, one that does not feel that his situation is hopeless, that rat will struggle and swim to safety.
6. We stagger a little when we hear the challenge to reach "all nations." For years we have been sending missionaries across the borders and oceans and doing our best to support them. Today we realize that we are not even making a dent in the world's population. It's growing faster than we are able to reach it. In His love God has reversed the escalators; today instead of us sending missionaries to the nations, He is sending the nations to us. They live in our communities and our neighborhoods... Our Old Testament lesson [Zechariah 8:20-23] reminds us, "In those days, ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of His robe and say, 'Let us go with You, because we have heard God is with You.'" That prophecy is coming true before our own eyes. People from all nations are seeing the hope which we have. They are taking hold of us, watching us and saying, "Let us go with you because we have heard and we have seen that God is with you." They desire the hope which we have, the hope God has asked us to share. (Ken Behnken) 

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