Mark 8:29 And he asked them, “but who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
Dear reader, this statement is amazing! It sounds quite ordinary, or even elementary to us today. It seems obvious. Of course, he is the Christ, right?
Not so fast. I want to show you that this statement is the result of a miraculous work of God. I intend to prove that this statement was not ordinary, but rather, extraordinary! On a side note, I spelled extraordinary wrong in a spelling bee over 20 years ago, and I never will again. Back to my point now – this assertion by Peter is exceptional for the time he lives, and for eternity.
First let’s discuss the exceptionality of the statement. Here we are in Mark chapter 8. Jesus has been casing out demons, feeding thousands of people with less food than could feed the twelve and healing sickness and disease. The lame are walking, the blind are seeing, deaf are hearing and still he is not believed to be the Christ. Read Mark 3:21-22! He is even accused of being satanic!
After all of this, feeding thousands, the healings, the casting away of demons, there are still some who come to him and ask him for a “sign!” (Mark 8:11-12) Think about it, these people had witnessed signs so great that people who deny must deny their very existence, the acts are so far-fetched. They had seen what Jesus had done, but in their unbelief, the suppressing of the truth in their unrighteousness, they had to deny his deity.
Luke 13:23-27 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’
Take it from Jesus: there will be few who are saved. Ultimately, this means there will be few who profess Jesus to be the Christ, as Peter does.
Now we see the statement is exceptional. Maybe you are one of the exceptions; maybe you know Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. (Cross reference Matthew 16:15-16, Luke 9:20) My question for you is, how do you know this? Are you smarter than everyone who does not know this? Have you just worked harder at spiritual things? Not only is this statement exceptional, it is quite exclusionary; this statement makes a theological claim pertaining to the method of salvation.
Maybe you are like I was. I was a philosophy minor in college. I received all A’s and B’s in my 400 level classes. I spent my time at night reading Kant, Plato, Aristotle and Descartes. I knew more about god than anyone I knew, plus I had experience to draw upon. Couple my superior education with my God-given intellect – there was no way that spiritual truth was escaping my understanding.
But what saith the scriptures?! 1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
John 6:44,63-65 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 63
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life…65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
And finally, Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
In this parallel passage to Mark 8:29, we see that the spiritual discernment required to EVEN recognize Christ is a gift of God. Jesus proclaims to Peter that ‘flesh and blood” has not revealed this knowledge to him, but his Father in heaven. Peter is not unique. Neither are you. Neither am I. No amount of worldly wisdom reveals God to us. No amount of bible study, apart from the Holy Spirit will cause you to grow in the Lord. And there is no one, no not one, who seeks after God; no one, no not one, who is good. Romans 3:9-12 and Psalm 14:1-3 testify clearly to that.
Read this sad commentary of the reaction of many to Jesus at the end of John chapter 6. Notice the two groups represented by the two different reactions to Christ:
John 6:66-69 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Dear Christian, you know Christ today because He foreknew you. It is because God chose you to be redeemed by and for His Son, Jesus Christ, in His wisdom. Trust him completely for all your needs. Lay your life at the foot of the cross! Be like Peter, John & Paul and serve Him with all your heart. Thank God you have no other to whom you can turn. Praise God if you understand today that He is the Christ!!