Jesus was involved with His disciples in missionary work around Caesarea Philippi when He asked His disciples, “Who do the people say that I am?” (Mark 8: 27) A brief look at the context of Mark 8 reminds us that Jesus had fed the 5000 (Mark 6) and the 4000 (Mark 8); He had healed the Leper (Mark 1), the Paralytic (Mark 2) and the demon-possessed man (Mark 5); and He had even raised the dead back to life (Mark 5)!
The disciples had been among the people, had listened to them and were “in touch” with what they were thinking. They told Jesus, “Some say that you are John the Baptist. Others think that you are Elijah or one of the other great prophets who have come back from the dead!” The people thought highly of Jesus BUT not highly enough! They thought well of Him, but not well enough! The people thought that they knew Him, but this was clearly A Case of Mistaken Identity!
As Jesus’ present-day disciples, you move among people today in your neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and civic organizations. You, too, are among the people listening and interacting with them. What do the people say about Jesus today? If you were to ask them, some would probably answer that He was a wonderful philosopher, a wise man or a great teacher. Many people, today, think highly of Jesus BUT not highly enough! They think well of Him, but not well enough! Many think that they know Jesus, but theirs, too, is clearly A Case of Mistaken Identity!
Jesus then turned to His disciples and asked them, “But what about you?…Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) Simon Peter, prompted by the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart, answered for Himself and on behalf of the other disciples when He responded, “You are the Christ.” Even then, Peter didn’t fully understand the true identity and purpose of Christ. So, Jesus “then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this…” (Mark 8: 31-32a) Jesus was (is) in fact the Christ, the Messiah, who was God’s anointed, appointed, Chosen Savior. He had come from His Heavenly Father to live, die and be raised again for the forgiveness and salvation of the entire world. This was His true identity!
Jesus calls us to find our true identity in Him. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8: 35) You and I discover our true identity when we deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him. So, joyfully, winsomely, willingly and eagerly we share Jesus in every context in which we find ourselves. We share our faith internationally, locally and personally with everyone we can! We have Jesus’ own promise and assurance that when the song of faith fills our hearts and words of witness cross our lips He will be “proud” of us “when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8: 38)
See you in church THIS Wednesday (9:30 a.m. or 7 p.m. for “The Places of Our Lord’s Passion – The Palace of the High Priest”) and this next weekend too!
Blessings in Christ,