- Today we return to Mark, Year B’s Gospel source back from a few weeks of John and today’s Gospel from 8.27-38 is the hinge of Mark.
- Why I like Mark:
- Short to read eg I used to give baptism and marriage couples a copy of this (show Gospel)
- Action packed – always picked up on & Holy Week change to passivity (Vanstone’s Stature of Waiting)
- Earliest Gospel 40 years after resurrection copied by Matthew and Luke. Only Paul’s letters are earlier. Papias 130 AD: Mark being the interpreter of Peter, whatsoever he recorded he wrote with great accuracy
- Mystery of uneven ending - the original may have got lost from the end of the scroll to be replaced by other texts in Chapter 16
- Clear purpose set forth in Chapter 8 [giving credit to Christianity Explored] show us who Jesus is, why God sent him and what it means to us.
27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ 28 And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ 29 He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
- A crucial paragraph. In Mark 1-7 we’ve followed how Jesus’ identity emerges through miracles, healings and teachings. Today’s the hinge: ‘Who do people say that I am?’
- Variations in how people see Jesus – then and now
- ‘You are the Messiah (Saviour).’ Peter’s role (Papias) of voicing what was the truly the case. Wisdom given Peter by God (Cf Matthew 16)
Why God sent him
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’
- As Messiah Jesus didn’t and still doesn’t fulfil Jewish expectations
- A suffering Saviour sent to rescue us from sin.
- The world isn’t as it should be because we’re not as we should be. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.
- God’s Son was sent to earth to show us our sin and to show us his own heart and bring us, in Victor Hugo’s phrase, to ‘life’s greatest happiness’ which is ‘to be convinced we are loved’
- Visual God made us for friendship. Sin made a barrier to this. Jesus died to destroy the barrier so restoring friendship with God.
What it means to us
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’
- Taking up your Cross: A church member in hospital offering their pain for all who’re there focussed outside of themselves with Jesus for all
- Faith is ongoing choice for God and his provision in Jesus
- In baptism Jesus’ principle of losing life to gain it is impressed on us
- v38 Jesus is alpha and omega