Tag Archives: Mark 8:27-38

The Most Important Question

There are some questions that are life-changing, they take our lives from one course and head them into another.  When Mr Pamspermbulation asked me to me to marry him was one of those occasions.  I had to make a fundamental decision about what I thought of him.  Did I love him, trust him, could I spend the rest of my life with him, working together with one purpose, growing and nurturing the life ahead we were committing to?  Important questions.

Our relationship with God is a similarly life-changing question.  The answer a life-long commitment.

What I think of Jesus, who and what I believe him to be is The Most Important Question, because my answer to that should effect my whole life.  If I believe he is God, and come to show God and his ways to us, then that should inform every part of my life – how I act, how I treat others, what I say and do, where I see God, how I listen and respond to him.  All are founded in and on what I believe about Jesus – and through him God.

Jesus asks, not what others are saying, what they think, what we’ve heard, but what I think, what I believe, and perhaps more importantly – what I am going to do about it.

Jesus is inviting the disciples to a journey of commitment and all that involves.  He makes the same invitation to you and I.  There will be some astoundingly awesome mountain top experiences, but there will be some dark and difficult times too.  That is what walking with someone else involves.  Jesus knew more than most about suffering.  Following him was not, and is not, the easy choice, the soft option; it has elements of pain, despair and rejection.  There will be some very dark times, Jesus wants all who may join him to be clear about what they are getting in to.

Choosing God is not about having your own way, it is about having his way and looking out for the good of others, putting them before ourselves, that the world may flourish.  But what we will get back if we live that way will be immense.  In God’s ways, we will always get back waaaaaay more than we give.

But it’s a choice.

What do you think about God?  What do I?

And how is the answer to that question going to affect my life, the way I look at others and the way I live.

Lord,
you ask me what I think of you
and you wait
patiently
for my answer,
as I work out
what you mean in my life,
if I can trust,
follow
and work with you.

But you are not looking for empty words,
a vague commitment,
an empty promise,
you want to see how my decision
works out in my life,
in my dealings with others,
and my love of you.

You invite me on a journey,
a journey of life,
of ups and downs,
of cost and commitment,
of promise and hope.

So today,
I come before you
and give you my answer
to The Most Important Question,
follow you
and invite you
to work through my life

You are the Christ

Mark 8:27-38 (CEV)

Who Is Jesus?

27 Jesus and his disciples went to the villages near the town of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “What do people say about me?”

28 The disciples answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah. Others say you are one of the prophets.”

29 Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

“You are the Messiah!” Peter replied.

30 Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death

31 Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, “The nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. He will be rejected and killed, but three days later he will rise to life.” 32 Then Jesus explained clearly what he meant.

Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. 33 But when Jesus turned and saw the disciples, he corrected Peter. He said to him, “Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God.”

34 Jesus then told the crowd and the disciples to come closer, and he said:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 35 If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it. 36 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? 37 What could you give to get back your soul?

38 Don’t be ashamed of me and my message among these unfaithful and sinful people! If you are, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Big Trouble

This is re-blogged from Lent this year, when studying  Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark

You know that feeling, when you are watching a situation from a certain distance.  You can see events unfolding – and you just know there is going to be trouble.  You can see personalities beginning to clash, that one is asking more of the other than they are willing to give, that aspirations are not the same. When reality kicks in, there may indeed be trouble ahead.

Jesus warns his disciples

There’s big trouble in store for the son of man (Mark 8:31 – Tom Wright)

Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death

31Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, “The nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. He will be rejected and killed, but three days later he will rise to life.” 32Then Jesus explained clearly what he meant.

Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. 33But when Jesus turned and saw the disciples, he corrected Peter. He said to him, “Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God.”

34Jesus then told the crowd and the disciples to come closer, and he said:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 35If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it. 36What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? 37What could you give to get back your soul?

38Don’t be ashamed of me and my message among these unfaithful and sinful people! If you are, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

The reality of the situation, of the new way that Jesus is bringing to the world, is that there will be those who won’t like it.  And when people don’t like something they try to ruin it.  When people see that things will change for them, and they don’t want it to; when they can see that they will be losing something by it; when they see it is going to cost them…

So when the reality of what Jesus is bringing kicks in, it will attract animosity, fear and rejection.  Jesus wants the disciples to be clear about what they are getting in to.  Peter doesn’t like the sound of this, he doesn’t want to hear it.  He tries to stop Jesus talking that way.

How are we when we hear the truths of what Jesus has to say?  When he tells us of the costs involved?  When we realise it is not all just plain sailing?  Do we want to stop him saying these things?  To out our fingers in our ears and la, la, la to ourselves?  Do we want Jesus’ ways to be our ways, rather than our ways his?

Jesus offers the best way to live.  But that does involve sacrifice. Jesus has to die to rescue a world gone wrong. There is a cross to carry (Tom Wright p 35).  Are we willing to believe him and go with him?  Are we willing to relinquish things that we think are good, for his ways that are better?  Are we ashamed of him and want to stop his words, or willing to give up what we have and take on board the new way?

There may be struggles ahead, we may not be popular – but whoever said life was going to be easy?  What Jesus does promise is that he has been there before, and he is with us where we go – for the journey we follow is his.

This is Tom Wright’s prayer for this passage (p 36);

Forgive us, gracious Lord,

where we have preferred human common sense

to the strange wisdom and power of your cross.

Give us strength

and clarity of understanding

to hear your call afresh

and to follow wherever you lead

But What do You Think?

This is re-blogged from Lent this year, when studying Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark, this passage was covered

Before you make a decision on something, you may want to canvas the opinion of others.  Has anyone else tried this? Do you own one?  What do you think?  Would you recommend it?  Have you been there?  Would it work for me?

Mark 8:27-30

Who Is Jesus?

27Jesus and his disciples went to the villages near the town of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “What do people say about me?”

28The disciples answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah. Others say you are one of the prophets.”

29Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

“You are the Messiah!” Peter replied.

30Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone about him.

And so we return to the “Who is He?” question.

But this time Jesus is asking about himself.  What are people saying about me?  What’s the word on the street?  The disciples give various answers about what people are saying about him, the understanding that is going around.

But them comes the crunch:

But who do you say I am?

Because that’s the really important question.  What other people think might be interesting, but what really matters is what each one of us thinks for ourselves.

What do I think about Jesus?  What does he mean to me?  What effect does he have on my life?

As we continue our faith journey, this has to be a question we need to be able to answer for ourselves.  The time for decision comes, when what others are thinking is of interest – but no real importance.  It is about us and God, where we stand, what we believe in, and what we are going to do about it.

Lord,

as I take time,

as I reflect on you,

I realise that the important question

is what I think about you,

and what I am going to do about it.

You are the Messiah,

the one who has come to do a new thing

– I pray that you will do it in me