“On Your Mark”
Who Am I? (Chapter 8 Verses 27-30)
There is a definite change that takes place at this point in Mark’s gospel. The note of suffering emerges in a way which it did not in the former part. Once more see how Jesus distances himself from his enemies, he keeps to distant parts (v27). Not because he is afraid, but he is continually working on his disciples preparing them for their future ministry. Here is one of Jesus choice questions, “whom do men say that I am?” Notice that Jesus seldom if ever asks questions that you can answer with a yes or no. You know those occasions when you try to spark off a spiritual conversation with someone? You ask a question and they simply answer yes or no. And that is it, end of conversation. We need to learn from Jesus, how he handles people, how he opens them up, brings out their thinking, and especially concerning himself. Of course this is a vital question is it not? Fundamental to salvation. A person surely cannot be saved without a true knowledge of who the Lord Jesus really is.
It was the same then as now (v28), all sorts of superstitious ideas as to who Jesus is. I guess Herod with his nagging conscience and gut fear would have been responsible for the thinking that Jesus was John the Baptist (Mark 6.14). Then of course others had their own ideas about the Old Testament Bible, Elijah, one of the prophets and so on. But none of them come anywhere near the mark, they all refer to him as a man. But you, his disciples, he asks (v29), “whom say ye that I am?” The two years they have been with the Lord have deepened their conviction as to his Person, “the Christ” is Peter’s reply. But of course should not our Christian convictions be always deepening, our lives in Christ broadening out all the time? Paul speaks of the initial reception of Jesus as our Saviour and Lord (Colossians 2.6), being rooted down into Christ (Colossians 2.7), but then he speaks of the superstructure being lifted up, built up in him (Colossians 2.7), always growing more and more, up and up, till we reach a full maturity. And the result is that our convictions deepen, our assurance develops and we overflow with abounding thankfulness (Colossians 2.8). It was this conviction that Jesus was the Old Testament promised Messiah, the anointed One which drew them to Jesus in the first place (John 1.32-34; 41-49). There was a long way to go, but the first two years had not been wasted. What about your Christian life? Are there years of regret, wasted ones? (Revelation 3.20).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)