Peter Gets it Right

Mark 8:27-30

Parallel Texts: Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 9:18-21

After Jesus restores sight to a blind man in 8:22-26, Mark cuts to a new scene.  Jesus and the disciples are walking toward  Caesarea Philippi, and along the way Jesus asks them who people say that He is.’ They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”’ (v. 28) Then Jesus drops the big question:

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

Mark 8:29

Matthew has it this way:

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:16

Some refer to this as “The Great Confession” for it is upon this confession that the church stands.  As Matthew makes clear in 16:17-20, not only does the church stand upon this foundation, but also our hope of overcoming death itself rests here, for it is only through the belief that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the Living God that that anyone will receive eternal life.

Sadly, there is much controversy on this passage, but I must remind myself that we are studying Mark, not Matthew! Suffice it say that the rock is the acknowledgement of the truth of Jesus’ identity  and not the poor vessel who first stated it, for in the very next section, Peter will demonstrate his lack of understanding of the totality of what he has said!

Mark finishes this part of the scene by simply stating that Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone about this. He does not give a reason for this warning. Maybe we should wait and see if anything will shed light on this as Mark continues.

You might be detecting a subtle shift in Mark’s tone, for while his presentation remains choppy with short scenes moving quickly along, from this point, the tone of Mark’s writing will become more and more serious. He has already begun to provide us with more details more often, and that trend will continue, and though he never provides the amount of in-depth coverage that Matthew and John will provide in parallel texts, Mark will be filling in more details from here on out than he has previously about certain things.

Well, Peter has attained a spiritual high in this text, being the first to say who Jesus is, let’s see if he can stay on that high plane in the next section.



About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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9 Responses to Peter Gets it Right

  1. Peter at least attained to a position that the Ayrians, the JWs and the Moderates of the old Church of Scotland could agree to, but …

      • Peter showed that he was in fact on the side of the Unitarians and Arians, by stridently denying the need for Jesus to die. I am firmly of the opinion that Peter and the other disciples were miles from being converted at this stage in their association with the Lord Jesus Chist. Peter’s profession of believing Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God, was immediately hollowed out by his rejection of Jesus teaching regarding the necessity of the Christ’s death and resurrection. Peter wanted his life his way, and did not want to give that up for the cross of Christ. The cross is an offence because not only does it show us that we are sinners, but also that we ourselves can do nothing about our sin and are wholly dependent upon the Son of God.

      • Well, it seems to me that every time Jesus spoke of the necessity of his suffering and death (and resurrection), the disciples changed the subject to ‘which of them will be the greatest’ — even at the last supper they did this! This suggests the response of unregenerate hearts. It was only after the death and resurrection, and particularly after the day of Pentecost, that they showed any real interest in the Gospel. All the best.

        • Don Merritt says:

          Of course I may be entirely mistaken, but since you used the expression “unregenerate hearts” it seems only fair to point out that they couldn’t possibly have been otherwise without the Holy Spirit indwelling them, and that did not occur until Pentecost; certainly it wasn’t going to happen prior to the cross.

          • Surely there were true believers before the day of Pentecost, and no one truly believes without the work of the Holy Spirit — Abraham foresaw Christ’s day, and was glad — so did David. Zaccheus, we are told (Luke 19:9), was saved by faith before the death of Christ, being a true son of Abraham. Yet, in Matthew 18:3, Jesus tells his disciples explicitly that they were still in need of that change required to bring them into the kingdom of heaven – just as Nicodemas told of his need to be born again, a need that ought not to have surprised a teacher in Israel. Best.

  2. vw1212 says:

    There are certainly days like this…vw

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