Focus on Who He Is | Mark 8:27–30
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
Here’s the highpoint of the first half of Mark’s Gospel. Just like with the healing of the blind man in the previous passage, people of this day see some of the spiritual reality of Jesus. However, Peter voices that clarity for the reader.
The unclear views of Jesus: Because He’s sent the disciples among the people, they know what people are saying—and their report is almost like a bullet-point list. They report the options Herod Antipas heard (he settled on the fact that John the Baptist had somehow resurrected, 6:14–15). That was obviously false, and the Lord also states that the Baptist fulfilled the role of Elijah (Mt 11:14; cf. Lk 1:17). Their last option is somewhat true (Hb 1:1–2) but insufficient. We could add other false ideas today, like Jesus simply being a good teacher—all indicating fuzzy views of the Lord.
The clearer view of Jesus: “But who do you say that I am?” Ironically, they are traveling through a region given to idolatry (it was famous for a sanctuary to the half-goat deity Pan), and it’s named after two political figures (Caesar and Herod Phillip). Yet, Peter says that Jesus is “the Christ”—meaning the Anointed King prophesied by Holy Scripture. He’s the King, the Lord, worthy of worship!
Even with all of that said, this is not clear enough! Just as an optometrist would have you check your eyesight by the lenses in the doctor’s office, Jesus will give His disciples more clarity in the next passage. Their vision is yet wanting, which is why He tells them to tell no one yet. They don’t quite understand what Jesus being “the Christ” means, so He begins further corrections to their prescription in the next verses.
“But who do you say that I am?” This question, asked of all His disciples throughout time, now stands before you. Will you confess Jesus as Lord and be saved (Rm 10:9–10)? Do you trust Him to be the Christ?