questioning Jesus, Mark 8b, ‘As they walked…’

16 Aug
Peter, before confessing Jesus as Messiah. Artist: El Greco

‘Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?” …,’

Walking engenders deep conversations, both internal dialogues and with those whom we walk with. Jesus is alongside his friends, his disciples, and with himself. Jesus asks them to identity, to define him, their Jesus.

28 ‘“Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”

29 He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”

Peter gave the answer: “You are the Christ, the Messiah.”

I love this Peter. The unbroken and impulsive Peter; the quick to speak and slow, super slow, to listen. He is never listening Peter.

This ‘Jesus question’ has to be the essence of all their walks and all their questioning lives. And it is quite telling that Jesus asks his closest of friends this question ‘as they walk.’ Why?

On a road, not in a synagogue or home, they are relaxed and moving. Jesus wants, I believe, to hear their walking response, their living moment’s thought. He asks in this setting to hear their hearts immediate words and feelings. And Peter speaks first and for all: you are my Messiah; you are, we are all of his. Jesus is our Messiah Saviour.

30-32 “Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.”

Simply and clearly. He didn’t want them to miss what, who, he really is, who the suffering Messiah is. but…

32-33 ‘But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”

I love this Peterson Message transcription of verses 32-33, “turning and seeing... disciples wavering, wondering…”

Peterson’s choice of present participles, — “ings” coveys the immediacy of movement. Jesus is confronting Peter, turning and seeing. All awhile Jesus is walking, present in this moment, with his disciples.

And Peter? He is a wonder and a disaster. And all within the same setting, the questioning moment of, ‘ Who do the people say I am?” …,’ He gets the answer correct; but when he hears how the Messiah is called to walk the Earth, he attacks Jesus’ message.

Peter misses the clear and simplebecause he has stopped walking with Jesus: Peter now desires his way, his walk. His talk.

So, Peter, get out of Jesus’ way: but, if you can walk with the Messiah.

Peter, I close with a question for you, and for myself: are you, am I, are we, walking with Jesus?

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