Mar 17, 2013
Mark 8:31-34

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Recap last few verses:

Jesus asks, “Who do men say that I am?

Disciples respond, “John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets.

Jesus replies, “Who do you say that I am?

Peter declares, “You are the Christ!

Following this glories declaration, Jesus does something interesting. 

Jesus “strictly warned that they should tell no one about Him.

Note: Jesus didn’t censure them because they were wrong in their conclusion that He was the Messiah, He censured them because their idea of the Messiah was incomplete.

Not only is Jesus about to correct this misunderstanding, but He’s also about to make it clear what it really means to be one of His followers. 

[Mark 8:31-32a] “Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly (literally without concealment, unreserved in speech, with free and fearless confidence). 

Jesus began to teach them....” indicates an unique, direct shift is subject matter. 

At this point, Jesus is going to begin to teach the disciples something about Himself that He hasn’t previously taught them in the past 2 1/2 years.

Q: Why would Jesus wait till this moment to begin such an important lesson? 

A: Remember the context.... Before Jesus could teach them about the Messiah they had to first come to the conclusion He was the Messiah. 

This was important because Jesus’ presentation of the Messiah would be such a radicle departure from everything they knew and previously believed.
Observation: Progressive Revelation....  

1. Jesus asks, “Who do men say that I am?

2 Then He asks, “Who do you say that I am?

3. Once Peter declares, “You are the Christ” Jesus can begin to explain what that really means. “I’m going to suffer and if you follow me it will also be a life of suffering.”

Jesus is no marketing fool! 

It’s hard to accept “Life in Christ” without first concluding “Jesus is the Christ.” 

Revelation always begins with who Jesus is before progressing to what He came to accomplish and how this effects our lives.

Paul makes an interesting statement in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him - and the power of His resurrection - and the fellowship of His sufferings....

Note the obvious progression:

Before I know about His sufferings, I need to know about His resurrection.

But before I know about His resurrection, I need to know Him.

The idea of “Progressive Revelation” has 2 Implications:

1. Personal Implication: Who is Jesus - is the first question you have to answer.

2. Evangelical Implication: Who is Jesus - is the first question you should be asking.

Jewish View of the Messiah:

Please Note: The Jewish understanding of the prophetic Messiah was not wrong or unBiblical. Their understanding was simply incomplete and shortsighted.

1. SuperMAN: Supernatural ability, charismatic demeanor, revolutionary.

2. Political Leader: 

Jeremiah 23:5 - “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

  • Rise to power in a time of war and suffering.
  • He would be a descendant of King David. 
  • He will bring all the Jews home from exile.
  • He will bring restore Jerusalem.

  • He will establish a global government in Israel for both Jews and gentiles.

3. Religious Leader:

Isaiah 11:2 - “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

  • He will bring about a spiritual awaking among the people.
  • He will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship. 
  • He will restore Jewish law as the law of the land.
  • The whole world will recognize the Jewish God as the only true God. 
  • The Jewish religion as the only true religion. 
  • There will be no murder, robbery, competition or jealousy. 

  • There will be an end to sin. 

According to - “Jews do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Assuming that he existed, and assuming that the Christian scriptures are accurate in describing him, he simply did not fulfill the mission of the Messiah as it is described in the Bible. Jesus did not do any of the things that the scriptures said the Messiah would do.

Q: What about their perspective was incomplete?

1. O.T. presented the Messiah as the GodMAN. 

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God....” “El-Gibbor” - is never used of a man.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 “The days are coming.... when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

Other O.T. passages: Micah 5:2, Psalm 2:7-12, Isaiah 7:14, Psalm 110, Proverbs 30:4, Psalm 45:6-7, Hosea 1:7, Zechariah 2:10-11.

Jesus presents the Messiah as the GodMan....

Jesus begins His lesson by referring to Himself as the “Son of Man.

This was a direct reference to Daniel 7:13-14, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

2. O.T. presented the Messiah as a Suffering Servant. 

Isaiah 53:3, Isaiah 53:8, Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 52, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 42:11

Jesus presents the Messiah as a suffering servant....

  • The Messiah “must suffer man things.”
  • The Messiah will be “rejected by the elders.”

  • The Messiah will “be killed.”

O.T Evidence: Rejected by His brethren (Psalm 69:8), Beaten (Micah 5:1), Spit upon (Isaiah 50:6), Mocked (Psalm 22:7-8), Pierced (Zechariah 12:10), Crucified (Psalm 22:14-16), Forsaken by His followers (Zechariah 13), Betrayed by a close friend (Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12-13), Crucified (Psalm 22:14-16), Crucified with malefactors (Isaiah 53:12).

But “after three days” the Messiah will “rise again.” (Psalm 16:10)

Q: Why does Jesus say the Messiah “must suffer many things?” (B-Sides)

This contrarian view of the Messiah did not jive well with their preconceptions.

[Mark 8:32b-33] “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

Scene of Activity

Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ!

According to Matthew 16:17 Jesus even commends Peter by giving him a gold star.... “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Jesus continues by addressing their incomplete understanding of the Messiah.

Peter is having a hard time wrapping his brain around this concept so he takes Jesus aside and “began to rebuke Him.

Jesus “turned around” (meaning Peter is at His back) and He “looked at his disciples” then “rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind me Satan!

1st Observation: Peter’s Rebuke of Jesus

1. Peter’s intent was sincere in motivation. 

Peter loved Jesus and no doubt thought his intervention was best for the ministry.

Note: It seems Peter is also speaking up for the weaker disciples.

2. But unbeknownst to Peter he was being used by Satan for evil.

Application: Even people who mean well can be used by Satan for evil. (B-Sides)

Q: Why would Jesus rebuke Peter publicly?

2 Reasons Jesus rebuked Peter in front of the disciples:

1. Peter expressed his grievance in public so the rebuke had to be public.
2. It seems Jesus was addressing the disciples as well as Peter. 

Q: Why rebuke Peter at all?

2 Reasons Jesus needed to rebuke Peter:

1. Peter’s rebuke wasn’t founded in the truth.... Jesus had to defend the Word.

2. What Peter was saying was actually in direct contradiction to what Jesus just said.
There was a Satanic strategy aimed at keeping Jesus from the cross. 

Following the rebuke Jesus addresses a deeper heart problem with the disciples:

He says, “For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” 

KJV: “Thou savourest not the things of God, but the things of man.

Savourest” - literally means “the thinking that tastes good.”

Peter allowed his mind to settle on human wisdom rather than divine direction. 

A sincere heart coupled with man’s wisdom can lead to disastrous results.” 

This was an Illustration of their Spiritual Blindness: 

Peter had evaluated the situation with earthly eyes. 

He failed to see a spiritual dynamic at play. 

Big lesson: Eyes are the gateway to the mind. In order to see the world properly we need to keep our minds on the things of God. (B-Sides)

Jesus has addressed their initial misconception as to who the Messiah was. Now He’s going to begin to address what it really means to be a follower of Christ.

[Mark 8:34] “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them,“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 

Scene of Activity

Jesus “called the people to Himself, with the disciples also.” 

This was a lesson everyone needed to hear.

Jesus transitions from bad news: “I’m going to die” to worse news: “You need to die.” 

In order to avoid confusion, we’re going to address this passage in 4 stages:

Stage One: Whoever desires to come after Me....” 

Whoever” - What Jesus is about to share was not just for a select few!

Desires” - The process of following Jesus begins with a choice!

Greek verb “thelô” meaning “to will, to be resolved, to delight in, to desire.” 

Step Two:Let him deny himself....

Let him deny” - Greek word “aparneomai” meaning “to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone, to forget one’s self and one’s own interest.”

The verb tense describes a once and for all decision. 

“Self-Denial” vs. “Denial of Self” 

Self-Denial: defined as the “self-sacrifice of one’s desires or interests.”

It can also go by the names self-help, self-discipline, austerity, asceticism.

Self-Denial is the basis for all moral codes.... all Religion.

Amazon has 155,706 books under the classification of self-help. 

Self-Denial is all about what I abstain from doing or what I deny me. 

People work hard to deny themselves for all kinds of reasons.

“I don’t smoke and chew or go with girls that do.” 

Problem with Self-Denial: I can deny myself but still be self-consumed. 

Self cannot dethrone self or it would wear the victors crown.” 

Self-Denial is the drug dealer for Self-Righteousness.

Denying Self: defined as the “sacrifice of self and it’s desires and interests.” 

It’s the difference between Self-Sacrifice and the Sacrifice of Self.

Self-Denial is when self denies something it desires. 

Denying Self is when the desires of self are denied altogether. 

Jesus is saying we have to come to the point where we accept the reality we can’t do it own my own.... we can’t help ourselves even through self-denial! 

Denying Self is birthed from the permanent place of brokenness.

Denying Self describes the point in which I deny myself the right to control any aspect of my life. I voluntarily deny self and secede control to Jesus.

Christianity has completely missed the point Jesus was making!

  • The 2nd chapter of Joel Osteen’s best selling book “Become a Better You” is titled “Be Positive Toward Yourself” - it’s the 2nd of 7 keys to a better life. Two of his sub points are “Learning to Like Yourself” and “Having Confidence in Yourself.

Step Three:Take up his cross....

2 Things make this statement strange:

1. Jesus had not yet died on the cross making it an accepted religious icon. 

2. The cross had nothing but a negative stereotype to a 1st century Jew. 

Roman criminals were beheaded and Jews were crucified.

Note: The crucifixion was a poor execution device. 

It would take several days for the criminal to die a slow, excruciating death.

The cross was designed by the Romans to be a symbolic image of brokenness, death, and total surrender. This is why Jesus invokes this image.

Take up” - verb tense literally means “keep taking up” - it’s a continual action.

His cross” - a person who “took up a cross” knew he was “The Walking Dead.” 

He was a man who’d surrendered himself to the destiny of death.

The man with a cross on his back knew his fate was sealed. 

Step Four:And follow Me....

We’re only told to “take up” our cross or literally “to raise up from the ground.” 

We are not told to “carry our cross” only to “follow Him....”

Q: Why would Jesus tell us to pick up the cross, but not carry it?

  • The cross Jesus spoke of could not be carried by oneself.

As a matter of fact it was impossible to kill yourself with a crucifixion.

Note: Not even Jesus could carry His own cross. 

Luke 23:26, “As they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon.... and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

2 Corinthians 13:4, “For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we shall live with Him by the power of God towards you.” 

We can only pick up the cross. We can only choose the death of self. The deed itself must be carried out by another.... a Savior must carry the cross for us.” 
 .    .    .    .    .    .    . 

If you want to be a disciple of Jesus here is the process:

Step 1: “Desire” the life Jesus wants to provide.

Step 2: “Deny self” - choose to place your life in the hands of another.

Step 3: “Take up your cross” - decide to live a life of daily surrender.

Step 4: “Follow Jesus” - allow Jesus to become your life’s all.

Paul would say to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I love by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Jesus now provides 3 things that will keep me from truly following Him.

[Mark 8:35-38] “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

#1: Selfism.... For whoever desires to save his life will lose it....

Divine Paradox: To find your life you have to loose it. To save your life you have to let go.

#2: Materialism.... For what if a man gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"

One soul has more value than the entire created universe because it’s eternal.

#3: Fear of Rejection....For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

This world is all about the next.... the world beyond the last breath.

Paul would say in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.