Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Ultimate Good News/Bad News
Accompanying David Legge sermon: The Suffering and Then the Glory
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Jesus is the Christ
Rayburn begins his sermon on this passage with this:
In the context, right after the account of the Lord’s granting hearing to a deaf-mute man and sight to a blind man, it is likely that Mark intended his readers to draw a connection between the miracles and Peter’s confession, all the more after the Lord himself drew attention to the disciples’ deafness and blindness in 8:18. The point is that all true faith and all true confession of Jesus is a virtual miracle itself, the result of the supernatural work of God.
When Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ (Greek) or the Messiah (in the Aramaic he would've spoken in) he still didn't understand what that meant. He still expected that Jesus would be a conquering Messiah who would deliver Jerusalem from the Gentiles and restore Israel to glory. And that is why Jesus didn't want them to say anything. The last thing He needed was for the masses to develop a mob mentality about Jesus being a political and military leader. His disciples didn't even have a clear understanding of who He was, and He didn't want them spreading the good news and until they understood it all.
Even though the prophets taught that Christ would be rejected and killed by His own people, the people didn't understand it that way. They were hoping for the conquering Messiah. Peter's refusal to accept this as the will of God made him an unwitting accomplice of Satan.
Truly, there is no greater question that we need to answer then the one Jesus asks "Who do you say I am?" Our answer to that determines our eternal destiny and the way we live the rest of our lives now.
To confess Jesus as Messiah or as Lord means, must mean, that we owe our allegiance to him; we must surrender the rule of our lives to him; we must follow him; we must live for him; we must repudiate ourselves as the masters of our own destiny and bow before him. People did not want to do that in Jesus’ day and they don’t want to do that in ours. They really don’t want to do it. They want to go their own way, to be their own masters.
They are perfectly able to see how hard the way of following Jesus must be in this world. It was hard for him and it will be hard for those who follow him. It took him to the cross and it will require us to carry ours. It will require us to forsake ourselves and our desires in many difficult ways. It will require us to lose our lives in various ways in order to gain them in the world to come; but you can see this world, you can’t see the world to come. It is hard to give up what you can see for what you cannot.
That is why Paul would later say that no one can call Jesus “Lord” except by the Spirit of God. It takes as much divine power to open a human heart to the lordship of Jesus Christ as it does to open the eyes of a blind man or the ears of the deaf.
But once the eyes have been opened, the difficulties, the crosses, the self-denial all makes perfect sense precisely because Jesus is the Christ and the Lord. Then whatever we suffer for his sake we are suffering out of loyalty to the Lord and Master of the Universe, for the sake of the one who holds our eternal destiny in our hands, and for the love of someone who has loved us with an impossibly great love, so great that he gave himself to ignominy, suffering, and death to secure our salvation.
MacArthur explains that the bad news was that Jesus was going to be killed. The good news was that He was going to be killed for us, He was going to be our substitute, He was going to take our punishment. The bad news is the good news. And the really good news is called the gospel that Jesus died and rose again for the salvation of all who believe in Him.
Monday's scripture focus: Mark 8:34-38
Sunday's passage: Jeremiah 19-20
Monday's passage: Jeremiah 21-22, Ecclesiastes 2, Philemon