The disciples were a bit thick-headed. They did not get the meaning of Jesus’ mission or the nature of their discipleship
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:27–29)
I am one of those moms who takes full advantage of the captive audience that comes with a road trip. Yes, there is the perfunctory, “Are we there yet?” but that will not deter me from the mission at hand. What is the mission? On every trip, the inside of our vehicle becomes sacred space, a training ground, a place for impartation of faith, family, and fun into the lives of our kids.
Here in Mark, the road trip to Caesarea Philippi includes intense training with the twelve disciples. Teaching “on the way” was a strategy Jesus used with his disciples.1 He took full advantage of the travel time to train them in kingdom principles. Today’s Scripture illustrates that this was no occasion for chat or entertainment. The curriculum did not cover a minor issue. The lesson for this day was the most important question of all: Who is Jesus?
You may have noticed a recurring theme to this point in our journey with Jesus and his disciples: The disciples were a bit thick-headed. They did not get the meaning of Jesus’ mission or the nature of their discipleship.2
The question Jesus asked is still one of the most discussed questions in the world. People still debate if he is just a prophet, just a teacher, just a religious man. Or is he more? Jesus brought the question home when he said, in essence, “Okay, I know what others say, but who do you say I am?” As spokesman for the group, Peter voices the uniqueness of Jesus as Messiah, God’s promised Savior. At last, the truth about Jesus is recognized and acknowledged.3
The question is posed to you too, whether or not you have done extensive research on other religions and can explain what other people have said about Jesus. The most important answer any of us will ever have to give is our response to the Lord when he asks, “Who do you say I am?”
Who is Jesus to you? How has your view of Jesus changed as you have journeyed with him?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, things have not changed much over the centuries. Many people still appreciate you as a teacher and prophet, but they do not see you as Lord. Help me to proclaim the truth of who you are by my words and actions today. Give me the opportunity to share the story of my journey with you. Amen.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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2 Morna D. Hooker, The Gospel According to Saint Mark: Black’s New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 200.
3 France, 330.