By Minister Litney Gray
“And Jesus went out, and his disciples into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.” Mark 8:27-29
Can you imagine having a casual conversation with Jesus turn into a “teacher-student” pop quiz? Looking at the text, Jesus and his disciples are traveling and seemingly out of nowhere Jesus begins his inquiry. The first question begs the opinion of others, while the second calls forward the perspective of his disciples.
To place the text in context, let’s momentarily explore their footsteps leading up to their current location in the preceding verses (Mark 8:23-25). There, Jesus encounters a crowd who wants to see him heal a blind man. Instead of performing an “on-the-spot,” “in-your-face” miracle, Jesus escorts him outside of town. Then something abnormal occurs. As many might expect the first touch of Jesus, especially when mixed with spit to provide instantaneous healing, this blind man professes, “I see men as trees, walking” (vs. 24). In other words, to be honest, “I’m sort of, kind of healed Jesus if my reply satisfies you.” Jesus didn’t stop there but touched him again and made him look up. The Bible records “and he was restored, and saw every man clearly (vs. 25).”
Arriving now at our focus verses Mark 8:27-29, Jesus’s inquiry to the disciples mirrors his approach in healing the blind man. In both passages, Jesus encounters the thoughts of “they” and “you”. The “they” brought the blind man to Jesus. “They” can represent popular opinion or common culture. “They” looked interested in Jesus, but did “they” really know him? Just as Jesus walked the blind man away from his “they,” Jesus leads his disciples away from there by asking, “But whom say ye that I am?” This second question is not a “survey says” response, but a personal acknowledgment. As the blind man acknowledged his personal vision, Jesus was able to touch him again with his touch that was not based on the hopes of “they”. This second touch was based on his honesty and personal confession, which blessed him to receive divine healing in the form of clear sight from God (vs. 25). Similarly, Peter’s response was isolated from the perspective of “they”. He was able to separate “they” from “you”. “They” said Jesus was John the Baptist, Elias or one of the prophets. How impressive is Peter’s ability to not only personally acknowledge Jesus, but to accurately convey his Lordship by responding, “Thou art the Christ.”
In this season, it is important that we do not miss the moments to walk by the way with Jesus and acknowledge him as “the Christ” –the Anointed Flesh of God. Against culture, against news headlines and popular opinion, the Spirt of God revealed to Peter “you” know (ref. Matthew 16:16-17)! There is a lot circulating about religion, Christianity and spirituality. However, one thing remains certain –
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. During times of uncertainty in society, I want to echo Peter and acknowledge, “But I know”: I know who Jesus is.
Jesus has brought us aside (sanctifying/making us holy). Spend time getting to know Him through the voice of His Word and in prayer. What may begin as a casual conversation can transform into a deeper revelation of an Almighty God, Savior and King. Do you know Jesus? If not, let Him take you by the hand and reveal Himself to you. He will take your perspective to another level of His divine glory.