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Mark 8:31-33


Intro: Ever since Jesus made His first public appearance, He had been trying to reach the nation of Israel. He was their Messiah and He did everything He could do to convince them of that truth.

        His miracles, His teachings, His compassion and His power were all clear evidence that the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament had appeared. Yet, when Israel saw Jesus, they refused to accept Him as their Messiah, their Lord or their Savior.

        Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders in Israel, Mark 8:11. He was rejected by the nation as a whole, Mark 6:3. He was even judged to be a mad man by His Own family, Mark 3:21. This total rejection is summed up by the Apostle John when he said, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not,” John 1:11.

        Even as Jesus was attempting to reach Israel, He was also trying to teach His disciples. Jesus spent many months teaching them, displaying His power and revealing His identity to His men is powerful ways. For the longest time, they were blind to His identity. Even though they saw Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, control the forces of nature, multiply bread and fish and raise the dead; they still could not grasp just Who Jesus was.

        The disciples were like the blind man Jesus healed in Mark 8:23-35. When Jesus touched him the first time, he could see a little, but not clearly. Then, Jesus touched him again and his sight became plain.

        Like that man, the disciples had a dim vision of just Who Jesus was. In Mark 8:27-30, the final connection was made in the hearts of most of His men and they finally understood Who Jesus was. Their statement of faith is summed up in Peter’s words in verse 29, “Thou art the Christ!”

        As soon as that connection is made, Jesus begins to teach His disciples what His mission is really all about. As Jesus speaks with His men, He destroys their misconceptions regarding Who the Messiah is and what Messiah is supposed to do. This passage also reveals the fickle nature of the human heart.

        I want to take these three verses and preach about The Mission Of The Messiah. I want you to see how His Mission Is Revealed; how His Message Is Rebuked, and finally, how His Men Are Reprimanded.

        If we will listen to the voice of the Spirit of God, there is a message for our hearts in this passage.


  I.  v. 31     THE MESSIAH’S


·         There is a marked contrast between the words of verse 29 and the words in verse 31. In verse 29, Peter had proclaimed Jesus to be “the Christ”. The word “Christ” means “Anointed One”. It is a word that refers to the Jewish Messiah.

        For centuries, the Jews had looked for God to send a Deliverer. They anticipated a great military leader who would defeat Israel’s enemies, restore righteousness to the land, and who would purify and restore Temple worship to its ancient glory, Jer. 33:15; Eze. 37:23-24. The Jews believed that this deliverer would achieve his goals through the force of arms. They were looking for a fighter, a revolutionary and an insurrectionist.

·         When Jesus came onto the scene preaching, teaching, healing and calling men to repentance; He was not what the Jews were expecting their Messiah to be. Thus, they rejected Him.

        Yet, in this humble carpenter from Nazareth, Peter and most of the disciples recognized the Messiah. They believed that Jesus was the Christ, the fulfillment of the prophecies and the promises. They fully expected Jesus to attack the Romans and deliver the nation of Israel from her bondage. What Jesus aid in this verse shattered every golden dream of conquest and liberty they cherished.

·         Jesus begins to teach them. The word “began” suggests the fact that this was new information Jesus was giving His men. We are also told in verse 32 that Jesus spoke these things “openly”. Here, the Lord Jesus would use no parables and no messages with hidden meanings. He would speak clearly so that these men would not misunderstand what He was trying to tell them.

        The revelation Jesus makes in this verse is devastating to all their notions of Who the Messiah would be and what He would do. In this verse, Jesus reveals His mission to His men.

·         We would do well to consider the message in these words from Jesus. His message still speaks to our hearts today.

·         Notice the title He gives Himself. Peter had called Jesus “the Christ”. Jesus had not denied this title, for He was the Messiah. However, when Jesus speaks, He calls Himself “the Son of Man”. This simply reminds us that Jesus did not come to this world to live as a King. Jesus came into this world to die as a slave, Phil. 2:5-8.

        While Jesus is the King of Glory and He is the King of the Jews; He is also “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Rev. 13:8. Jesus is not contradicting Peter; He is merely opening their eyes to the true purpose for His coming into the world. Jesus expands on this thought in His next few statements.

·         He tells them that while they are looking for glory, He actually came to suffer. Surely Jesus did suffer while He was here. He lived in poverty. He understood loneliness. He was a Man Who was rejected by most, hated by many and loved by few. He was truly a Man Who was “…despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not,” Isaiah 53:3.

·         Jesus tells His disciples that it will be the religious establishment who will be the most vocal of His opponents. When Jesus speaks of “the elders,…the chief priests, and scribes”, He is referring to the Sanhedrin. This was a council made up of seventy Jewish leaders. It functioned as the Supreme Court in Israel. It passed judgment on all matters related to religion and everyday life in Israel.

        This council was made up “elders”, these were influential lay leaders. The “chief priests” refers to the High Priest, any former high priests, and the leaders of the 24 courses of priests within the tribe of Levi. Most of these men were Sadducees. They were the theological liberals of the day. The word “scribes” refers to the Pharisees who were on this council. The Pharisees were the religious conservatives. They were responsible for knowing, preserving and protecting the Law of God.

        This rejection by the Jewish leadership had already begun. On more than one occasion they had tried to find fault with Jesus. And in Mark 8:11, they plainly declared their rejection of Jesus, declaring that He had not sufficiently proven that He as the Messiah. The Sanhedrin would eventually reject Jesus for the final and condemn Him to death.

        They would accuse Him of blasphemy, Matt. 26:65. They would sentence Him to death, Matt. 26:66. They would turn Him over to Rome, demanding that He be executed, Matt. 27:1-2; John 19:17. These religious leaders would lead the people of Israel to demand the death of Jesus on a cross, Matt. 27:20-26. Even as Jesus was dying and nailed to a cross, these men would mock Him in their anger and hatred, Matt. 27:39-43.

The very watchmen of Israel would send Him to His death. The blind were truly leading the blind!

·         Surely the disciples had already seen that opposition to Jesus was growing by the day. The revelation that the Jewish leaders would reject Jesus might not have shocked them; by what Jesus said next must have left them speechless.

        Jesus told them that He was going to “be killed”! He lets them know that He, the Christ, the Messiah, would not only be rejected by Israel, He would also be put to death by them.

        We don’t know how long this teaching session lasted, but the word “teach” suggests “ongoing teaching”. It may have lasted quite a while. Perhaps Jesus took them on a tour of the Old Testament.

        Perhaps He took them back to the book of Leviticus and revealed to them the spiritual significance of the Passover and the Day of Atonement. Perhaps He taught about all the Levitical sacrifices and how they all pointed ahead to the death of the Savior. Maybe He revealed the true prophetic content of Psalm 22; Psalm 69 and Isaiah 53. (Ill. I would love to have heard that conversation!)

        However He did it, Jesus took this occasion to show His men that the path of the Messiah would lead Him to His death. This was a concept that no Jew had ever considered and none could believe! By the way, that is still true today.

·         Then, Jesus told them while He must die, He would also rise again from the dead. Yes, there was suffering, pain and death in the Messiah’s future, but there was also glory! He would pass through death and conquer death, Hell and the grave for all those who would believe in Him.

        Of course, the disciples did not understand this truth. They are so stunned to hear that the Messiah will be killed that they are incapable of hearing that He will walk out of death as the eternal Victor over it. In fact, they didn’t understand the Lord’s teachings concerning the resurrection until after Jesus had died and risen again. Then they got it.

·         Maybe what shocked them the most was the word “must”. This indicated that the things Jesus would endure were part of God’s plan for the Messiah. Messiah would be rejected and He would die for several good reasons.

·         It was God’s will – John 3:16; Rom. 8:32

·         It was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy – Psa. 22; Psa. 69 and Isa. 53.

·         It would satisfy the demands of God’s Law – Eze. 18:4; Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12-21; 2 Cor. 5:21

·         It was His Own will to die for sinners – John 10:11; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 2:20; John 15:13; Mark 10:45

·        That is the Messiah’s mission. But, before we leave this thought behind, let just stop and to praise Jesus for the “musts” He had before Him when He entered this world. I praise His name that He willingly entered this world, suffered all that He did, died on the cross and rose again from the dead so that I might be saved!

        Every step He took; every pain He suffered; every lash He endured; every single thing Jesus did, He did for me and I bless His name for it! Hallelujah! Praise the name of Jesus! Like the songwriter said, “He did it all for me!”




 II.  v. 32      THE MESSIAH’S

               MESSAGE IS REBUKED

·         When His disciples hear Jesus speaking like this, they are dumbfounded! His words go against everything they have ever been taught about Who the Messiah would be and what He would do for Israel. The concept that the Messiah, the Christ would actually die was more than they could comprehend!

        Someone needed to do something! Someone needed to speak up! Someone needed to talk some sense into Jesus. And, Peter is just the man for the job!

·         While the rest of the disciples stood there amazed by what they have just heard, Peter “took Him”. This phrase carries the idea of one person leading another person away to talk to them. Peter walks up to Jesus, puts his arm around the Lord’s shoulder and leads him away from the group. Then, we are told that Peter “began to rebuke Him.” This word means to “admonish or chide”.

        Peter takes the Lord, leads Him aside and maybe he says something like this, “Jesus You need to watch what you say! We know Who You are! You are the Christ! Don’t be talking about dying, suffering and rejection! You should be talking about victory! We need a pep talk and not some discouraging sermon about death!”

        Matthew tells us that Peter said this, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee,” Matt. 16:22. He is saying, “Heaven forbid! This will never happen to you Lord!” To Peter nothing could more foreign than the idea that the Messiah might suffer and die. He just could not see a cross in the Lord’s future!

·         This problem is not exclusive to Peter. Many people have problems with the idea of a suffering Savior. Paul writes this in 1 Cor. 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

        When a lost world hears about how Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross they recoil in horror. To them, the cross and the death of Christ suggest weakness and failure. They cannot grasp the truth that His death was necessary to provide salvation for those who would believe on Him by faith, Heb. 9:22.

        The death of Christ was not a moment of weakness. It was a moment of divine triumph! God accomplished something in those six hours on the cross that man had not been able to do in thousands of years. God accomplished something through the shedding of the blood of Jesus that man had not been able to achieve through the shedding of millions of gallons of blood from animals. When Jesus did on the cross, He forever paid for sin and provided a means of salvation for all who will believe on Him by faith! (Ill. Heb. 9:12-14; 10:11-14; 9:28)

        When Jesus died on the cross, one of the last things He said was “It is finished”, John 19:30. This was not the cry of a victim; it was the cry of a Victor. He did not say, “I am finished.” He said “It is finished!” What did He mean?

        The word He used tells us. Jesus used the Greek word “tetelestai”. This was a common word in that society. It’s primary meaning is “to complete, to perfect”. When Jesus died, He completed something. When He died, He perfected something. When Jesus died, He completed the plan of salvation and He perfected the way to God. His death satisfied every demand of God for sin. Anyone who will believe on Jesus in saving faith will be born again and forgiven of their sins!

        This was a common word in that society. It was used by slave who had completed and assignment given to him by his master. He would report back, “It is finished!” It was used of an artist who had completed work on a painting. He would step back and say, “It is finished!” It was used by a merchant who had sold merchandise on credit when the bill had been paid in full. He would write in his ledger book, “Tetelestai! It is finished!” It had many other uses, but you get the message!

        When Jesus died on the cross, He declared that God was satisfied and the way of salvation had been opened! By the way, that word is in the perfect tense. It literally says this: “It is finished, it stands finished and it will always be finished!”

        If we try to remove the plank of the cross and the suffering of the Messiah from the platform of salvation, the whole thing crumbles to the ground. There can be no salvation without the death of Jesus on the cross for sin.

·         Do you know why people hate the message of the cross? It is because the cross spells the end of human self-sufficiency! If we believe that we can only be saved by receiving Jesus and trusting His death and resurrection, we are declaring our own helplessness before God.

        Man loves his religion. Man loves to “do” something religious to earn favor with God. The only problem with that is the fact that nothing will give any person favor with God but the shed blood of Jesus. It’s time folks forgot about “do” and placed their trust in “done”!

·         The question is, is it finished in your heart? Are you saved? Have you looked away to a crucified Savior and trusted Him for your soul’s salvation? You need to do that and you need to do it now!


III.  v. 33       THE MESSIAH’S


·         Jesus responds to Peter’s rebuke very harshly. He turns His back to Peter and looks at the rest of the disciples. They were probably nodding in agreement with what Peter had said the Jesus. Jesus looks at them all and He rebukes Peter. Jesus said, “Get thee behind Me, Satan!” Literally, “Get out of my sight you false accuser! You only care for fleshly things and not the things of the Lord!”

        When Peter tried to talk Jesus out of going to the cross to die, Jesus heard the voice of another speaking. He heard in Peter’s words the voice of Satan. To Peter what he said made sense. To Jesus, the things Peter said revealed that Satan was using Peter to attack the Lord.

        When Jesus was on the mount of temptation, Satan came to Him and tried to get Jesus to claim the glory of the kingdom without the agony of the cross, Matt. 4:1-11. Jesus rebuked the devil then and He rebukes the devil now.

        Jesus is not calling Peter the devil. He is pointing out the truth that Peter is speaking the words of Satan. He is telling Peter that He is being used as a tool by the devil. Jesus is not sending Peter away; He is commanding Satan to leave.

        Then Jesus tells them that their real problem is that they are looking at His ministry through the eyes of men and not through the eyes of God. They were looking for power, glory and position. Jesus knew those things were in God’s plan, but only after He had suffered for sin on the cross. God’s plan involved the death of the Messiah and anyone who opposed that plan was doing the work of Satan!

        This is the same man who just called Jesus “The Christ”, verse 29. One minute Peter is declaring deep spiritual truth, the next moment he is doing the work of the devil!

·         There are a couple of thoughts that we need to consider here.

Ψ  We are often just like Peter. We look at everything around us through human eyes. We only see how things affect us. We only care about our comfort, our needs and our wishes. The will of God is a million miles away from our thinking. That needs to change, Eph. 6:6.

          Men care about the material; God cares about the eternal. Men care about prosperity; God cares about holiness. Men care about power; God cares about purity!

Ψ  We are like Peter in another way. We are also weak and prone to failure. One moment we are on a spiritual mountaintop, living for Jesus and walking in His will. The next moment, we have allowed sin to creep in and we are carnal, fleshly and fallen. Ever been there? (Ill. Paul – Rom. 7:14-25.)

Ψ  Often we fail to see that there is a very thin line between doing the Lord’s work and doing the devil’s work. It is vitally important that every thought be taken captive and brought to Jesus, 2 Cor. 10:5; and that every action is screened through the filter of the Word and will of God, 1 Thes. 5:22.

Ψ  One final thought: When a fellow believer has a “Peter Moment”, when they fail the Lord in a big way, the rest of us should help them get back where they ought to be with the Lord, Gal. 6:1-2. We all have our “Peter Moments”, but that does not mean that our usefulness and effectiveness are at an end. It simply means that we need to pick up the pieces and move on for the glory of God!


Conc: What is your reaction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? When you hear about His suffering, His death and His resurrection, do you rejoice that He would do that for you? Do you embrace His death and the payment for your sin debt? Are you saved?

        When you hear it, maybe you know you need to come to Him for salvation. You hear it, you believe it to be true and you know you should act on it. Yes you should! Come to Jesus, He will not turn you away, John 6:37.

        Maybe you hear it and mock. Friend, you are on truly dangerous ground today! Come to Jesus and be saved!

        Maybe you’ve had a “Peter Moment” and you have failed the Lord. Maybe it was a big public failure; maybe it was just something that only God knows about. You crossed the thin line between serving God and serving the devil and you know you need to repent. There is no better time than now. He will receive you and He will forgive you, 1 John 1:9.

        Maybe you have realized today just how weak you are in Him. He can help you grow stronger. Come to Him.

        Whatever needs may have been touched in your life today, if God has spoken to you, please come to Him right now.

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