Sermon #34 Series: Mark
Title: A CONVERSATION BY THE WAY
Text: Mark 8:27-33
Readings: Office: Merle Hart Auditorium: Bobbie Estes
Subject: Peter’s Confession and Confusion
Date: Sunday Evening - November 23, 1997
Tape # U-28
Mark has informed us of the doctrine Christ preached and the miracles performed by him. Whenever we think of our Lord’s miracles, we must not associate them in our minds with the self-proclaimed miracle workers of our day.
Our Lord’s miracles were numerous, well-attested, wrought in many different places, performed before countless eye witnesses who knew the people who were healed, raised from the dead, and fed by his power. They were so well established as facts, that no one, not a single person familiar with his life and ministry, not a single one of his enemies and accusers ever even questioned their validity.
Having spoken so much of these things, the Holy Spirit would now have us pause to consider what they mean. Those wondrous works which our Lord would not allow his disciples to publish in the streets of Israel were recorded for us in the Book of God for our learning and admonition.
These things were not written by the finger of God for our amusement, or to supply us with material for debate. "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:31).
We have before us a conversation which took place between our Lord Jesus and his disciples as they were walking towards Caesarea Philippi. We are told plainly in verse twenty-seven that it was A Conversation By The Way. "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?" There is something for us to learn even from this thing, which seems to have been just casually observed by Mark. We ought to take advantage of every opportunity to do good. The last thing on this earth I want is a congregation of men and women who are pretentious, religious hypocrites, who cannot talk about anything but religion, or try to button hole everyone they meet. Yet, having said that, we ought to do what we can to do good to men’s souls and to help one another along the way. Watch for opportunity to speak a word in season.
Proposition: There is much to be learned from this passage, but Matthew Henry gave the essential teaching of these verses in one sentence. He wrote, “To be a Christian is to sincerely believe that Jesus is the Christ.”
Divisions: With these things in mind, I want us to look at this conversation between our blessed Savior and his disciples. As we examine these verses, I want us to learn four things from them.
1. Multitudes have a very high and good opinion of Christ who do not know him (vv. 27-28).
2. All true Christians know, believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the living God (vv. 29-30).
3. There was a necessity for all that our Lord Jesus Christ did as our suffering, sin-atoning Substitute (v. 31).
4. There is in every true child of God a strange mixture of grace and infirmity, strength and weakness, faith and unbelief, knowledge and great ignorance (vv. 32-33).
I. Multitudes have a very high and good opinion of Christ who do not know him (vv. 27-28).
There was among the Jews a great variety of opinions about Christ. Almost everyone thought he was a very good man, a godly man, even a great man. Most considered him a great prophet, perhaps even a resurrected prophet. They compared him to John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Almost to a man the Jews thought he was a great prophet who had come back from the dead. No one, at this time, considered him a deceiver or a wicked man. Only the Scribes and Pharisees spoke evil of him, and they only because of envy. Yet, very few knew him.
Things are pretty much the same today. Christ and his gospel are just as just as commonly misunderstood and unknown today, in religious God fearing as they were among the Jews two thousand years ago. Almost everyone knows the name of Christ. Most of our relatives and neighbors go to church and acknowledge that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, that he died on the cross, was buried, and rose again the third day. In remembrance and honor of him, they set aside special holy days, build huge buildings, and engage in great enterprises. Yet, there are very few who know him. Few there are who know the meaning of…
· His Godhood.
· His Incarnation.
· His Substitution.
· His Satisfaction.
· His Priesthood.
· His Exaltation.
· His Intercession.
Vague ideas about Christ are common. Very few people know who he is, what he did, or why he did it. Those who know the Son of God are very few. Yet, apart from knowing him there is no salvation. Without the knowledge of him, there is no eternal life. Until you know him, you are dead in trespasses and in sins.
May God be pleased to allow you to find no rest until you can say of Christ, “My Beloved is mine, and I am my Beloved’s”.
II. All true Christians know, believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the living God (vv. 29-30).
When you consider this confession itself and the circumstances in which it was made, Peter’s confession was a very remarkable confession of faith in Christ.
He made this confession when the Lord Jesus was in a very poor earthly condition, without honor, without power, without majesty, without wealth, without influence. It was a confession made in opposition to the opinions and thoughts of the world in which he lived. All the Jewish world, civil and ecclesiastical refused to acknowledge him as the Christ, and the entire Gentile world laughed at him as a Jewish zealot.
Yet, Peter boldly confessed, “Thou art the Christ.” His faith was not shaken by opposition. His confidence did not waver before popular opinion. Peter believed that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Christ.
· The Promised Messiah.
· The Prophet Like Moses.
· The Priest Like Melchizedek.
· The King Like David.
· The Son of God.
Erring and unstable as his faith sometimes was Peter was a man of strong, exemplary faith. He believed the record God had given of his Son and boldly confessed his Master and his faith in him. Obviously, there was much that he did not know, much that had not yet been plainly revealed. But Peter was loyal to the core and confessed Christ unhesitatingly.
Let us follow this faithful disciple’s example. Christ and his doctrine has never been popular, especially in the religious world. We must be prepared to confess him, though, if necessary, we are compelled to do so outside the camp of the religious world (Acts 2:36; 4:11-12; Heb. 13:7-12).
III. There was a necessity for all that our Lord Jesus Christ did as our suffering, sin-atoning Substitute (v. 31).
Here the Lord Jesus made a full declaration of his own coming death and resurrection as our Substitute. Can you imagine how strange this must have sounded in the ears of these disciples, these men who knew he was the Christ, but who were yet looking for him, at any moment, to establish a great Jewish empire over the world in which he would sit as king forever? Yet, he now declares that he must suffer many things, that he must be rejected of the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, that he must be killed, and that he must rise again in three days.
Why did our Lord use the term “must”? Why must these things be done? Was it because some force greater than he would compel him to endure these things? Was he saying that he would not be able to prevail over his enemies? Of course not! Was he saying he must endure these things to sit a good example of love, self-denial, and self-sacrifice? Nonsense! Our Master said that these things must come to pass because they were…
A. Decreed By The Father.
B. Declared In The Scriptures.
C. Demanded By The Law.
D. Desired By Christ Himself. “With desire have I desired to eat this supper with you.”
Notice this too. Our Lord spoke these things openly. He did not preach in code. He did not wrap his message in ambiguous words. When he began to teach his disciples, he used plain, clear speech. Every true prophet does the same.
IV. There is in every true child of God a strange mixture of grace and infirmity, strength and weakness, faith and unbelief, knowledge and great ignorance (vv. 32-33).
I can almost see Peter. He acted out of love and zeal. But he took the Master by the arm and said, Now don’t you fret about these scribes, elders, and chief priests. We’re not about to let anything happen to you. Thus, he attempts to stand in the Lord’s way and draws down upon himself the sharpest rebuke which ever fell from our Savior’s lips upon one of his disciples. Let us learn what these things are intended to teach us.
A. The best of God’s saints are but poor, fallible, sinful creatures.
B. As long as we are in this world, our highest attainments of knowledge are ignorance.
C. Let no child of God entertain high thoughts about himself.
D. Let us be charitable and gracious toward our erring brethren.