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About this series
How Jesus Chose to Change the World
What does it mean to be a real disciple of Jesus? Through this new series based in the Gospel of Mark, Chip breaks down this complex idea, by using the simple lessons Jesus taught His followers. We'll learn how characteristics like commitment, humility, and trust - set genuine Christ followers apart. Chip helps us better understand how we can avoid sin, grow in our walk with Christ, and just as important, help others mature in their faith as well. Don't miss how real disciples of Jesus, can radically change our world.More from this series
I’d like you to think back of the last time, it might have been a couple days ago, couple months ago, of a major, major decision you had to make. Okay? You got it? I mean, big. It’s what I call a loaded question. Can you think of the last time someone asked you a loaded question? And they are loaded for this reason. How you answer it will significantly determine the entire outcome of your life. All of us answer some very, very big questions in life and how we answer it will determine whether our life goes this way or that way.
Sometimes when we look back we have made some great decisions and, boy, I know I would love to have a few decisions back, wouldn’t you?
Let me just give a couple questions that you have been asked, most of you, or some of you. And what I’d like you to think about is not so much whether your answer was right or wrong but think of the impact that it has had on your life. For some of you, someone asked you, “Will you marry me?” “Will you take this job?” “Will you relocate?” “Should we have a baby?” Or, “Should we have another baby?”
Now, think of how you answered that and the implications long term. For some, there was a question many years ago or last week where someone said, “Would you go to bed with me? I really love you.” Or, “You want to move in together? I mean, we love each other and it’s cheaper.”
Or, “Would you just look the other way? I’m not asking you to cheat or lie, but things are complex. You don’t understand. Just look the other way on this deal, okay?” Or, “Will you get high with us? I mean, just once. I mean, just take a hit! Right? Just once.” How you answered those questions – profound implications.
I had someone ask me a question when I was fairly young in my Christian life that, I mean, shook me. I was really starting to grow and beginning to help lead a campus ministry that was growing rapidly, just a state school. And he came to me at the, a little past the beginning of my junior year, third year of school.
And he said, he was a leader of the campus ministry. He was the bricklayer I talk about a lot. He said, “Chip, I have really been praying about this. Things are growing like crazy. They don’t need me around here. And there’s a campus I have targeted that’s about two hours away. I’m going to move there with my wife, my four kids, change my business, go there, and start another work. And I really believe God wants you to come with me. I’d like you to pray about leaving school and transferring – there’s another state college there – and starting with me.”
Now, I don’t know if some of you remember what it’s like to be nineteen. And at first, I thought, Are you on drugs? Because I came to school. These are my friends. At the time, I had a girlfriend that I really thought we would get married. I was on a basketball scholarship. This guy is asking me to leave my girlfriend, my friends, my scholarship, and maybe not have all my units even transfer? And then he said it real calmly like, “Why don’t you think about it for the next six or eight months and we’ll talk about it at the end of the year?” “Thanks. Put this monkey on my back for the rest of the year.”
But let me tell you what happened. Do you know what happened? I was forced into a situation that I had never been in. And that was, here’s the real issue. “Chip, is this relationship with God you have a passing youthful idealistic fantasy where when it’s convenient and nice and fun and encouraging that you want to really walk with God and allow Jesus to be Lord? Or is this a life commitment that you are doing for good? And if it’s for good, then is God more important than basketball? Is God more important than which school you graduate from? Is God more important?”
And all of a sudden, what I realized, the real issue going on here wasn’t where I lived, but was the willingness of my heart to say, “God, You call the shots.” And I’ll share sometime over a cup of coffee the decision I made. It’s one of those “leave them hanging” – right?
But today, as we walk through this passage of Scripture in Mark chapter 8, the Lord is going to ask you and I three big questions and how you answer them or how you have answered them will determine significantly the entire outcome of your life.
Turn to Mark chapter 8 and we are going to be looking at verse 22 through the end of the chapter. And as you turn there, let me remind you of the context. This section is the apex or the climax of this book. The first eight chapters have led up to this mountain peak.
And the disciples and the crowds, are going to be called to move from spiritual, what I call “courtship”. You know, they have been with Christ, they have seen the miracles, they have heard Him teach, they have seen Him walk on the water.
Spiritual courtship, which is involvement and learning, to spiritual commitment, which is a time of commitment of absolute loyalty to not only the person, but the purposes of Christ as king of their life.
And so, the three questions He is going to ask first is, “Who do you say that I am?” And this is not an intellectual question. From your heart, in your life, from your value system, “Who do you really say that I am?”
Second, He is going to ask the question, “Do you know where I’m going?” I mean, really. Where I am going?
And then the third question, which is, I think the most penetrating paragraph in all of the New Testament. He will say, with no holds barred, “Are you willing to follow Me where I’m going?”
This is a picture of God taking all the information that you know, all the resources and taking all the chips of life and pushing them to the middle of the table and asking you to take all your chips, all your relationships, all your dreams, all your future and taking all the chips and you pushing them to the middle of the table and Him saying, “Okay, I deal. Are you ready? This is for good. This is big. Are you in or are you out?”
And that’s the picture of this passage. Let’s look first at the first question. “Who do you think I am?” The author starts with a point of transition and he’s going to show us a miracle that is in no other gospel.
Beginning at verse 22, “They came to Bethsaida and some people brought a blind man and they begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and He led him outside the village. And when He spit on his eyes and put His hand on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ And he looked up and he said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’” So he’s got partial vision. “You know, I can see something, but it’s not very clear.”
“Once more Jesus but His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” And then in like fashion, because of His popularity, “Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Don’t go into the village.’”
Historical event. The only time of all the miracles where it’s done in a process. I’m not sure why. But the observation I’d like to make that I think the author is going to begin to help you and I deal with is that the man first of all was totally blind, then he was partially blind, and then he could completely see.
Now, the last time we saw the disciples in the boat, the disciples were spiritually blind still, weren’t they? You know, Jesus says, “Hey, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,” and Peter says, “Hey, you got any bread? James, you got the bread? I forgot the bread. Anybody got the bread?”
And God is saying, Oh my gosh. These guys are not on first base. So, they are spiritually blind still. Now, this little paragraph, the author gives us of this miracle, and he’s going to show us physically the process of coming to see and now in the next little paragraph, he’s going to show us how spiritually we see.
Pick it up with me, verse 27. “Jesus and His disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way He asked them,” walking down the road, “Who do people say that I am?”
They have seen the miracles, they have heard the teaching, they have fed four thousand, have fed five thousand. Who do they think I am now?
“And the disciples replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist;’” obviously raised from the dead, “‘others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’” See, they were spiritually blind, now they partially see. Well, the people understand You’re special, You’re from God, You have done miracles, You’re a great teacher. They don’t have it real clear yet, but they really have an idea of who You are. They are moving the right direction. They see You, but it’s foggy.
And then He asks the penetrating question, “Who do you say that I am?” Not just who do you think, but, “Who do you say that I am?” And, see, what we speak is what we have deep seated convictions about. And we know the answer. Peter steps up and probably for the group, “You are the Christ.” The Christos. It’s a Greek translation of the Old Testament word Messiah. You’re the King. You’re the Deliverer. You’re the Awaited One. All those hundreds of years and Old Testament passages and dreams and hopes of all of Israel; You’re it! You are the ships come in. You’re our hope. You’re the Redeemer. All that is packed into this word.
In other words, Peter is confessing with his mouth: “You’re God.”
“You’re what everyone has always waited for.” And then in other gospels, we learn that Jesus turns to Peter and says, “You know, you didn’t get that on your own, Peter, by flesh and blood. The Father has revealed it to you.”
See the first step, the disciples were spiritually blind, then they began to see, it’s a process. And now, they are answering the question, “You are God. You are Messiah. “You’re the Christ.” First question I want to ask you before we move on.
If Jesus somehow would manifest Himself in a physical form and He looked you right in the eye, reached out His hand, shook it and said, “Who do You say that I am? Who do you say that I am?” In the marketplace, among your family, by your lifestyle, “Who do you say that I am?” Could you look Him in the eye and say, “You’re the Christ; You’re the Son of the living God; You’re my Savior”?
That’s the first step. And how you answer that question will determine the great outcome of the rest of your life.
He doesn’t end it there. This whole book has been leading, right? It has been leading to: Who is He? Who is He? Who is He? And how many times has He done a healing and then said, “Don’t tell anybody, don’t tell anybody”?
Well now the book is shifting and now the author is going to let us know, hey, He’s going to talk plainly. No more parables with the disciples. He’s going to shoot it straight. Verse 31.
The second question will be then, “Do you know where I’m going?” You have grasped who I really am, but do you understand the game plan? That’s what He’s really saying. “He then began,” a tense of the verb that means He began and kept on teaching over the several weeks and months until His death. “He began to teach them that the Son of Man,” that’s another word for the Messiah. He drew a little phrase out of Daniel chapter 7:13 and 14.
And it’s interesting, He willfully chose this phrase “Son of Man” because, see, they have a real strong political notion of Messiah. They want Him to come and crush the Romans and be the king and put down their enemies and make them healthy, wealthy, and wise and all the rest.
And instead, Jesus takes this title “Son of Man” out of Daniel where it talks about He’ll have all dominion and all rulership, but it doesn’t have the political overtones. Because Jesus knows the real Messiah will not only be a ruling Messiah, but He’ll also be the suffering servant. And He’ll have to die on the cross and be raised from the dead first.
And so, He tells them. Here are three things that must, very interesting word, it means a divine necessity. It has to happen. It’s the will of God. He begins to teach them. Notice the first three things that are negative. You want to know where I’m going? “The Son of Man must suffer,” that the first thing, many things. Second, “Be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law.” And third, “He must be killed.”
Now, so far, the story is not real good. I find, “Oh, You’re the Christ! You’re the Redeemer!” Hip, hip, hooray! “Where are you going?” “Well, I’m going to suffer, and then I’m going to be rejected, and then I’m going to die.” But don’t forget the last part. “And after three days,” the text says, “rise again.”
Jesus is saying, I’m calling you, if you want to follow Me, to a hard but glorious road, because I am going to come back. And when I come back, the same power that raised Me from the dead can dwell in you.
Now, I wonder what the response is going to be to where He’s going. Let’s find out. Peter, I think, speaks for a lot of us. “He spoke plainly,” like I was saying, no more parables about this, “and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.” It’s a strong word. The same, Jesus uses this word in the book of Mark when He silences demons. This is not Peter rubbing up against Christ and saying, “You know, excuse me, Jesus. You really don’t want to say that stuff about the suffering and rejection, do you?”
This is Peter saying, “Hey, Jesus, that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. Now, don’t talk like that, You dying and suffering and rejecting, and You dying. No way! You’re going to be our king and You’re going to crush Rome!”
Now, let’s find out how Jesus responds to being rebuked. I mean, Peter is major league out of line. And he’s going to get major league rebuked.
“But when Jesus turned,” it’s almost like He’s teaching and He’s got His back to them. And Peter, lays this stuff on Him. Notice, He turns and He doesn’t just look at Peter, because I think the other disciples were thinking the same thing. “Hey, we finally found out who You are and You’re the real McCoy and You’re saying instead of a party we are going to suffer and rejection,” and they didn’t hear much about the “rise again” – they couldn’t understand it, apparently.
“And He looked at the disciples and He rebuked Peter,” same word, just as strong. And then, what does He say? Whoo. “Out of My sight, Satan!” Boy, this would be a strong rebuke. But notice the reason, “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
See, here’s the temptation. Peter was being used by Satan to tempt Christ, to tempt Jesus to come up with a plan that would eliminate the cross. When was the last time that anyone offered Jesus the kingdom and followership minus the cross? Do you remember when it happened? Satan did it. Remember? He said, “Hey, look at all these kingdoms. Tell You what, let’s forget God’s plan, You dying, that’s not really a good deal. I’ll tell You what, I’ll have them all worship You if You’ll only do” – what? And Jesus said, “No way. I don’t cut deals.”
See, if you really want to get down to how this affects us, you know what Peter really wanted? Peter had a true salvation knowledge of Christ. He knew who he was. And you know what he wanted? He wanted Jesus to now, as His new Savior, come in and fulfill Peter’s agenda. Isn’t that really what he’s asking?
What he wants is: I want Jesus without the cross. And trust me, it sells. See, I want You to make me a head honcho over the Romans. I want You to make my marriage work out. I want You to straighten out my struggling children. I want You to help me through these difficult issues. I want You to get my finances back in order. I want You to make me happy and fulfilled.
And Jesus says, I’ve been God of the universe for some time now. And, see, the way this works, Peter, is I say what happens and I tell you where I am going, and you get the choice of whether following Me or not. And where I’m going, there’s a cross. There’s also crowns. But I’m not going to lie to you. To get to the crowns you’ve got to go through the crosses. They always go together.
And Peter basically was saying was, “I want You, Jesus, but I don’t want the road that has crosses and suffering and rejection and possibly death.” I don’t want that part of Christianity. And Jesus rebukes him with the hardest rebuke in the New Testament and says, “There is no other Christianity. There is no other road anyplace that has to do with the real Jesus Christ that doesn’t have crosses.” And we would be good to hear that today.