Scripture: Mark 8:27-33
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesare'a Philip'pi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" 28 And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Eli'jah; and others one of the prophets." 29 And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." 30 And he charged them to tell no one about him. 31 And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men."
Meditation: Who is Jesus for you? At an opportune time Jesus tests his disciples with a crucial question: Who do men say that I am and who do you say that I am? He was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, professes that Jesus is truly the Christ. No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter; but only God. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was. He was the first apostle to recognize Jesus as the Anointed One (Messiah and Christ). Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah, which means Anointed One.
Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father comments on Peter's profession of faith in Jesus:
Peter did not say “you are a Christ” or “a son of God” but “the Christ, the Son of God.” For there are many christs by grace, who have attained the rank of adoption [as sons], but [there is] only one who is by nature the Son of God. Thus, using the definite article, he said, the Christ, the Son of God. And in calling him Son of the living God, Peter indicates that Christ himself is life and that death has no authority over him. And even if the flesh, for a short while, was weak and died, nevertheless it rose again, since the Word, who indwelled it, could not be held under the bonds of death. (FRAGMENT 190)Peter's faith was sorely put to the test when Jesus explained that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God's work of redemption may be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard these words! How different are God's thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways! Through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us our salvation. If we want to share in Christ's victory, then we must also take up our cross and follow him where he leads us. What is the "cross" that I must take up? When my will crosses with God's will, then his will must be done.
To know the Lord Jesus Christ is to know the power of his saving death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith to know Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness to others the joy and truth of the gospel. The Lord Jesus tests each of us personally with the same question: Who do you say that Jesus is?
"Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior. Make my faith strong and help me to live in the victory of the cross by rejecting sin and by accepting your will."
1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.