최종 수정일: 2020년 9월 20일
THE DISCIPLES WHO WERE WITH THE LORD
On their way to the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asks his disciples two questions.
Who do people say I am?
Who do you say I am?
His questions may seem simple and basic, but in them is the mystery of the gospel and key for salvation.
Who do I say Jesus is?
1. The Jesus that the world confesses – Who do people say I am?
Many of the crowds that just followed Jesus around without understanding who Jesus truly was saw Jesus as one of the prophets, like John the Baptist, Jeremiah, and Elijah (Matt 16:14, Mark 8:28). These people viewed Jesus as another man, and for their personal motives.
In the same way, many Christians try to believe in Jesus to best suit their personal desires and needs. They follow Jesus as a leader of social justice, a role model of good will (helping the poor), or a worker of mysticism. It may seem like all Christians and people of any faith believe in God and Jesus in the same way, but we must be clear in our faith in Jesus and the uniqueness, necessity and absoluteness of his work of salvation.
What does it mean to believe in Jesus? To keep careful tab on your weekly church attendance? To vaguely believe in Jesus? To believe in Jesus for reasons other than God’s? Take time this week to deeply think about your faith in Jesus, and what kind of Jesus you believe in.
God sent Jesus for a specific reason, and believing in Jesus for who he truly is, as God sent him, is the faith that God most desires for us. And the confession of faith that realizes this mystery gives God the greatest joy.
2. The Jesus that the believers confess – Who do you say I am?
To Jesus’ second question, Simon Peter replies with the confession of faith that “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29). Though the world saw Jesus as another prophet and another man, his disciples realized the hidden truth that he was the Christ or Messiah, whom God had prophesied of since the fall of mankind.
Who is the Christ? The meaning of this unique title is “the anointed one”, referring to the three titles of the king, high priest and prophet who were all anointed with oil before being appointed to their work. The title of the Christ, therefore, is given to the one who holds all three titles.
Why did Jesus need to do the work of the Christ? To resolve man’s fundamental and root problem of sin, Satan, and separation from God. When asked the question, what is mankind’s fundamental problem, many fault man’s selfishness and greed, or poverty and war. There is, however, a more fundamental problem that began shortly after the creation of the first man. Because of Satan’s deception, man ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, breaking their covenant with God and resulting in sin and spiritual death. God, who is holy, could no longer dwell with man who now had sin, resulting in man’s separation from God. Man, from then on, was no longer under God, but under Satan, following his desires. These three problems became the root of all the unhappiness and problems that we face today, and man has no power to resolve these problems on their own.
In Romans 6:23, it says that “the wage of sin is death”, meaning that to pay off the debt of our sin, we must die. Therefore, something or someone else must die in our place but all men are sinners and they cannot die in someone else’s place without resolving their own sin first. In the Old Testament, the wage of one’s sins was paid off by a young lamb, which shed all its blood, yet this was merely a temporary fix and needed to be repeated every year. This annual sacrifice was a precursor and foreshadowing of another sacrifice, one that could resolve man’s fundamental problems once and for all. They were called the Messiah.
Jesus came not to be raised as a political figure, to liberate Israel from Roman colonization or to feed the people as a human bakery. Jesus came to sacrifice himself as the young lamb to resolve mankind’s sin, to free us from Satan’s authority, and to show us the way to meet God. Jesus was able to become a permanent solution because he was truly God, yet truly man and thus without sin, but able to die.
This Jesus then resurrected in three days, ascended back into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, interceding for us. Not only that, but he sent his Holy Spirit to us to be with us forever, and even to this day, he is working within us.
All we need to do is to believe and confess in Jesus for what he did and who he truly is. That is salvation.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
3. The Disciples who were with the Lord
Among Jesus’ believers, there were twelve who realized the gospel more deeply and were able to be used by God in his plan. The scripture reading for today from Mark 8:31-9:1 goes into greater detail the characteristics of the true disciples that Jesus desires.
First, they can distinguish between God’s work and man’s work. After hearing Jesus’ speak about his coming death and resurrection, Peter “took him aside and began to rebuke him”, to which Jesus responded “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men” (Mark 8:32-33). This brief interaction reveals Peter’s lack of spiritual sense to God’s work, and Satan’s taking advantage of Peter’s humanism. Jesus needed to die and resurrect to fulfill the covenant and finish God’s work of salvation, but Peter could only see the situation through a humanistic perspective. To Peter, it would be impossible for a man to die and resurrect again, nor did he want his dear teacher to leave him. Unlike Peter, we must have the spiritual eyes to distinguish between what is God’s work and man’s work. Therefore, what is the work of God? In John 6, the crowd of 5,000 that Jesus had fed was chasing him to be fed once again. Jesus told them to “not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life”, later explaining that “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:27-29). That command has not yet been changed. This command that Jesus gave to the crowd has also been given to us. The work of God is to believe in Jesus, the one whom he has sent.
Second, they can deny themselves, take up their own cross and follow the Lord (Mark 8: 34). What does it mean to deny yourself? In Galatians 2:20 it says that we “have been crucified with Christ and [we] no longer live, but Christ lives in [us].” And in 2 Corinthians 5:17, it says that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” We have our old selves that lived without Christ, filled with scars, resentment, and inferiority complexes. We have our old selves that lived for ourselves, for our own motives and desires. We have our old selves that lived as slaves of Satan, unknowingly fulfilling his desires (John 8:44). Those past selves are no longer who we are and died on the cross with Christ when we received salvation, and just as Christ resurrected, our new selves resurrected with Christ. These new selves live using our painful past as our platform. These new selves live not for us but for Christ, and his desires. These new selves live not as slaves to Satan, but as servants of the Lord. Take time this week to think about your past selves that you have not yet discarded and is blocking you from completely being a disciple that follows the Lord.
Third, they can risk their lives for the Lord and the gospel. Paul, a great example of a disciple who was not afraid to risk his life, confessed that the souls that we are able to save are “our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes”. For the reward he will receive when he is resurrected, he was more than ready to give his life to the Lord.
Fourth, they can see the kingdom of God come with power (Mark 9:1). Jesus prophesied that some of the disciples would not die before witnessing the God’s kingdom come with power. His word was later fulfilled in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit comes down upon the believers who gathered in Mark’s Upper Room in prayer, resulting in them boldly proclaiming the gospel and turning 3000 people back to God. In that same way, God’s desires for us to enjoy the blessing of breaking down the kingdom of Satan and establishing/expanding the kingdom of God wherever we go. To Peter who confessed that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus blessed him saying “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt 16:18). Jesus has given us the same power and authority, and desires for us to rightfully enjoy them as his children and disciples.