Series: Bios of a Savior
Bible Passage: Mark 8:27-9:1
Other Pertinent Scripture:
Parallel passages: For Mark 8:27-29 see Matthew 16:13-16, Luke 9:18-20; For Mark 8:31-9:1 see Matthew 16:21-28, Luke 9:22-27
Psalm 22, 72; Isaiah 53:7-12; Jeremiah 23:5-6; John 15:13; Romans 3:23-24; Colossians 2:15
The gospel of Mark is a documentary account of the life of Christ. Like other ancient biographies, which were called a BIOS or “life,” Mark’s account speaks to us about the actions and events of a man’s life. But this is no mere man Mark is presenting. This is the holy man who is wholly God, the one who has unique authority to call us to follow him.
As a church, everything about Stonehouse centers on this BIOS - his life, his teaching, his authority, his suffering and his victory. Join us as we dive into this fast paced narrative filled with astonishing events, dramatic responses and a give-all-that-you-are challenge from Jesus who stands at the center of it all.
a note on this week’s text:
This week we come to the all-important question from Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter, as he is often the voice of the disciples, confesses that Jesus is the Christ. In Matthew’s account (Matt. 16:17) Jesus declares that the Father is the one who has revealed this to Peter and yet we see that his understanding of Messiah is incomplete (Mark 8:31-33). The Christ is the anointed one of God, the promised deliverer of God’s people but to the disciples, and many others, this means only political and earthly deliverance. We see quickly, from where Jesus takes them from their confession, that this deliverer must suffer, be rejected and be killed. The rest of our passage is Jesus starting to teach on the cross and true discipleship. Like us, this teaching is something that his followers are slow to grasp at best and even opposed to at worst (Mark 8:32).
Three times in the next 3 chapters Mark highlights Jesus’ teaching on the cross and the misunderstanding of the disciples followed by instruction on true discipleship. This teaching is central for us as we follow Jesus, the King who went to a cross for us.
a few items to help take a deeper look this week or share with others:
“A Prayer about the Revolutionary Gospel of Servanthood” by Scotty Smith
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. The understanding of the disciples has been enlightened to the place where they at last confess that Jesus is the Christ. For them, this meant that Jesus was the king that was to come, the one promised in the Old Testament who would deliver his people and establish his throne on justice and righteousness. “The disciples were right to understand the Messiah to be one who came to restore God’s people. But they failed to see that this restoration would not be as they expected but as they most deeply needed—not political but spiritual. They wanted rescue from the Romans; they needed rescue from their sins.” (Gospel Transformation Bible). How are we like the disciples when we think of the rescuing work of Jesus? Do we want only earthly help not realizing we need spiritual help? Do you see your sin as the worst enemy of your life or is it something else? What did Jesus come to do?
2. Mark 8:13 says that Jesus began to teach that “the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected… and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Jesus had to do this, his language reveals that it is imperative not just probable. When we look at some of the Old Testament prophecies (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53, et.al.) we see that it was foretold long ago. Why did Jesus have to be rejected? Why did Jesus have to die? In your life, do you see the death of Jesus as absolutely necessary for you? Make it personal, why did Jesus have to die for you?
3. Peter’s rebuke of Jesus reveals that he does not accept the path that Jesus has to take as a reasonable and right path. His understanding of what he thought the Christ would do is getting in the way of him understanding why Jesus has to suffer and die. In the words of Jesus, his mind is “on the things of man” and not “the things of God.” Specifically, Peter’s mind is on the earthly way to power, mankind’s path to the throne and a forceful fight for freedom. Jesus will not achieve deliverance in these ways but paradoxically through the “defeat” of the cross.
It is essential that we don’t look down at Peter in this moment but that we identify with him, recognizing that in our own ways we do the very same thing. We want earthly victory, not the suffering of a cross. We want political, financial or relational power, not the servanthood of Christian discipleship. We must ask ourselves, in what ways are we rejecting the the way of the cross? Do we stand before Jesus in foolish boldness, declaring that his way is wrong? Look at your life right now, the things that don’t seem to be going right… are we rebuking Jesus for these things or are we willing to accept that they are part of the path of discipleship for us?
4. This path of discipleship begins to be laid before the followers of Jesus as he calls them to “take up [your] cross and follow me” declaring that “whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” This is the true call to Christian discipleship. It is a call to come and die. It is a strong word but it is a gracious word because seeking to build our lives on the things of this world will lead to disappointment, futility and loss in the end. As C.S. Lewis said, “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” In what ways are you seeking to build your life, or “save it,” through earthly pursuits? Can these things ultimately fulfill you? Why is it so hard to believe that in losing our lives we will find life? What does it look like for you to lose your life right now (how do you sense Jesus leading you to take up your cross)?
5. Ultimately what starts with suffering and loss will result in victory. This was true of the cross which made salvation possible for the world and resulted in resurrection. This is where our hope is found, one day all suffering, brokenness and death will be replaced with health, wholeness and life, not here on earth but together with Christ in eternity. Do you find hope in these truths? Are they real for you or only imagined? How does hope like this change the way you live?
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