Friday, February 4, 2011

A Matter of Identity

We live in a world where man is known by numbers and identity theft is rampant. It is no laughing matter to prove your identity if your credit card is stolen or your computer is hacked. You must prove your true identity or face charges for which you are innocent.

At Mark 8:27 Jesus wanted to know what people were saying concerning His identity. In the prior verses, we see Him miraculously feeding 4,000 men, women, and children with seven (7) loaves of bread and a few small fishes after they had been with Him three (3) days. We see Him and the disciples leave by ship where He is met by the Pharisees. They began to question Him, seeking a sign from Heaven and attempting to tempt Him. He sighed because they were blind and full of unbelief. They did not see Him as the SIGN. They were pretenders. Jesus told the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod. Their leaven was evil. However, He was not talking about bread. In my opinion, He was telling them to beware of the religious tactics of the Pharisees and the politics of Herod. He asked the disciples had they not seen the miracle of His feeding five thousand and the miracle of His feeding four thousand? Patiently He asked the disciples why they did not understand it was not about the bread. It was not about food. Surely if He had performed those miracles and fed thousands with little, He would be able to feed the disciples too. Also in verses prior to verse 27, Jesus healed a blind man. He took the man by the hand out of town instead of healing him where they met. Then He spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him. The man said he saw men as trees walking. A lot of people today are just trees walking. But they are spiritually blind. Then Jesus put His hands on his eyes and the man’s eyesight was restored. Jesus charged the blind man to tell no one and not to go to town. This was a great price to pay for eyesight, but I am sure he was willing.

For these reasons and more, we see Jesus conducting a survey among His disciples concerning the public opinion as to His identity. He did not have to prove His identity to man. He was the Messiah. He was allowing the disciples the opportunity to acknowledge the beliefs of the people. The poll indicated that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, or the other prophets. This was good in that the people had a high opinion of Him and believed He had risen from the dead. But they did not believe He was the Son of God.

Jesus then asked the disciples as to their opinion of His identity. They were eye witnesses of His miracles, His teaching and preaching, and His compassion. Peter immediately confessed that He was the Christ. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the King, our Savior, and the Son of God. Even John the Baptist had stated he would go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah as mentioned by Malachi. (Luke 1:17) Our challenge is to get the message out to the world with boldness.

He then informed the disciples to tell no one. It was not time to reveal that He was the promised Messiah. It had to be kept secret. Now they could be taught many secrets; i.e. the Son of man must suffer many things, be rejected of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed (crucified), and rise after three days.

The Lord’s announcement stunned Peter, causing him to try to rebuke Jesus. The Lord looked at the disciples before He spoke to Peter. He knew Peter was not within God’s will when he spoke. The Lord rebuked Peter as “Satan” telling him to get behind Him. Peter’s problem was that his mind was on the wrong things. Instead of thinking about God, he had allowed himself to think the wrong way. Peter failed to respond to the fact that Christ would rise again in three days.

Written by Deborah Davis

No comments: