Mark 8: 27 – 30 Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’
They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’
‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’
Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
* * *
Although Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, during his earthly life he was fully human. He needed prayer, just as we do. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). He did this so that he knew what the Father wanted him to do. I don’t think that Jesus had a ‘road map’ of his life in advance; that really wouldn’t be human, would it? I think that as he prayed and acted in obedience to the Father’s will, his course became steadily clearer.
And then Peter recognised him as the Messiah.
I believe Peter’s confession of faith was very significant for Jesus. Suddenly, the pieces fell into place. Yes, he truly was the Messiah. This would certainly lead him into conflict with the Jewish leaders. Rather than accept him as Messiah, they would seek to discredit him. The best way to do that would be to hand him over to the Roman authorities. The Jewish leaders thought that when the crowds saw him arrested, tried and crucified, they would reject him, because he quite plainly wasn’t victorious.
There is a great difference between knowing intellectually that something terrifying is to happen, and living with the certainty that it will happen soon and is inescapable. I believe Jesus experienced that feeling as Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’
Suddenly it was real. The Father really was going to ask him to do this. He was going to die in agony on a Roman cross, publicly humiliated, and abandoned by his disciples.
Everything we study in Mark’s gospel from now on must be seen in the light of this knowledge.
For today, it is enough to remember the sheer courage it must have taken for Jesus to stay true to his mission, and to remember the limitless love he showed towards all humanity.
Thank you, Lord, thank you!
Thank you for the love shown by Jesus. Thank you for opening my heart to feel his love. Please help me to respond with gratitude and obedience.
In Jesus’ name, Amen