Bible Verse: “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again” Mark 8:31
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:27-38
With all the remarkable good news about the power and authority of Jesus, the disciples knew they were on the precipice of something amazing. They knew the promises of God and the expectation of the Messiah was deep in the hearts and minds of all Israel. Jesus was ticking off the boxes one by one. Surely He was the one who would fulfill all the promises.
It was time to ask the question. Who did the disciples think Jesus was? Money time. Peter’s confession is famous. Not simply because it was bold but because it was correct. Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah. He is the one for whom all of Israel had waited, indeed the whole world—even if they didn’t know it—since God spoke words of chastisement and comfort to Eve (Genesis 3:14-10). He is the one who would not only restore Israel to her proper place among the nations, but He would crush the serpent’s head, the very entity that had caused the separation between God and His creation.
With all that surely running through the disciples’ minds, Jesus’ next words must have sounded ludicrous. First, He warns them not to tell anyone about Him…a confusing order. Why wouldn’t they shout it from the tallest mountain? Why not tell anyone and everyone? They were all waiting for God to fulfill His promises. Why on earth would this need to be a secret? It would have made more sense for him to say the opposite: I’m glad you understand. Now, go and tell everyone you meet.
As if being sworn to secrecy wasn’t confusing enough—keeping the secret of the promise being fulfilled—Jesus’s explanation only obscures things further. He must be rejected and murdered. But He will rise again. None of that made sense. That wasn’t part of the prophecies (actually, it was, but that’s for another time—the disciples didn’t understand that part of the promises).
Peter’s reply is perhaps the most understandable part of this whole exchange! Jesus, stop talking nonsense. If you are the Messiah, betrayal and death are not in Your future. The teachers and chief priests have been waiting for You too. We will convince them You are the one!
We don’t know if Jesus explained the role that His death and resurrection had in God’s plan. It doesn’t seem that He did. He simply wanted the disciples to trust that He knew what He was doing. If He was the Messiah, the Son of God, then He knew better than anyone what needed to happen. He wanted the disciples to trust that He was carrying out that plan. Up to now, Jesus was proving who He was. With this moment, His focus shifted to what He needed to do. The good news was getting confusing. The power was there. The authority was in place, but how did this suffering and dying fit in with the good news? The disciples would have to wait and see.
We know who Jesus is, we get to live on the other side of understanding what He has done. We now have the directive to tell everyone who Jesus is. The secret is out, and we can shout the good news long and loud.
Reflection: Even on this side of knowing who Jesus is and what He has done, things can still be confusing. What confusion have you had to wrestle through or accept regarding Jesus? How have you learned to trust Him despite or in the confusion?
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for staying the course with the plan the Father set before You. Thank You that You went through exactly what was needed to offer the salvation that Your life, death, and resurrection accomplished. Help me not to keep the secret of You to myself.
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