Who is Jesus?
27Jesus and his disciples went to the villages near the town of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “What do people say about me?”
28The disciples answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist or perhaps Elijah. Others say you are one of the prophets.”
29Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
“You are the Messiah!” Peter replied.
30Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus was the master teacher and Mark does a masterful job drawing us into the story he recounts to his community. We are in the very centre of the Gospel. We arrive at the “hinge” to which Mark has been taking us. Interesting enough, the only ones who recognize him to this point in the story are the evil spirits. It is time to ask the critical questions of his followers. Like a good teacher, he begins with an open question, “Who do people say that I am?” Upon their response, he asks what any perceptive teacher would ask, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”
Peter’s response puts him front and centre. As the primary informant for the Gospel according to early Christian tradition, he undoubtedly remembers the scene. He uttered, “You are the Christ.”
To affirm Jesus as the Messiah or the Sent One would have meant an enormous amount to Peter and the disciples. Peter was affirming the royalty of Jesus and his participation with all the great promises of God to establish the rule he promised to David. God was intervening again to undo sin and oppression; to be the King. Finally, there is a faithful Jew to accomplish the promises to Abraham.
But the disciples’ awakening was not complete – Jesus still has work to do, so they are warned not to tell anyone about this.
Lord Jesus, I too want to affirm that you are the King and I want you to rule over every area of my life.