Mark 8:27-39

Liz Dumain on the reality of following Jesus.

Liz Dumain
Liz Dumain

In Mark 8:27-39 we join Jesus and His disciples walking together. It's one of those moments that I imagine we've all had, where we're walking along and someone says something quite conversational that becomes a bombshell.

"Who do people say that I am?" asks Jesus. There is some chat and offerings of opinions and speculation, and then the bombshell question:

"Who do you say that I am?"


In that moment, on the spot, walking along, Peter realises something deep down in his heart. And in true Peter style out it comes in a blurted rush. Peter realises that this is the Christ, the Messiah, God incarnate, love in flesh and bones!

And Jesus' response, (which I have to confess, puzzled me for years), "Tell no-one"! Tell no-one? They have just realised He is God, the Messiah, the one who is going to put right generations of wrong, but tell no-one??

Yes, tell no-one, because realising carried huge implications that Jesus knew He needed to explain before they all went rushing off with half the story.

The thing is, this group of people had specific expectations of the Messiah. They expected a human king with plans to bring about the physical rule and reign of God's kingdom on earth.

But here is Jesus the Messiah. He's not a dominant king, but a servant. Not ruling people, but sacrificing for them. Not judging, but loving and forgiving.

Jesus needed to teach His disciples about the implications of what they had realised before they ran off and pressed the button on human authority, violence, ruling and judgement.

No wonder Peter has a wobble when he hears about the coming of God's Kingdom: serving and loving and suffering and a cross. No wonder he thinks "it can't be that way." He's got decades of "This is the way it must be" to undo!

It's really hard when things don't happen as we want or expect, or feel is right. It's really hard when the things we think should be, or are the right way, happen differently in God's way.

Peter's whole way of looking at the world, what he expected, what he thought was right, and how he thought things should be, got turned upside down in an instant. And that can happen to us too and sometimes it's really hard.

Jesus knew that the things He was teaching would be hard to hear, and that the disciples would have a hard time changing the way they thought, but was super firm when Peter tried to knock Him off course. That must have smarted a bit, star disciple to bottom of the class in two minutes!

Jesus gathers the crowd around Him and starts to teach about how the Kingdom really is, with complete and disarming honesty. No sugar coating, no pretending, no hedging or dodging, just deep, honest truth. Like Garibaldi (the Italian leader not the biscuit), when he said this about serving in war, "I offer neither pay nor quarters, nor provisions. I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let he who loves his country in his heart and not just with his lips only, follow me."

Jesus explains the implication of the 'follow':

  • Give up your own way

  • Take up your cross

  • Let go of your life

#Awkward CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.