Heavenly Father, we pray that You will speak into us any truth that we may have forgotten, ignored, neglected, pushed aside, or did not understand. We pray for obedient, soft, and teachable hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 22-26, ‘’22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” 24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”
Jesus and the 12 disciples came to Bethsaida. The friends or relatives of a blind man brought him to Jesus. Jesus took the blind man outside Bethsaida, an unrepentant city. Matthew 11:20-21, ‘’Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed because they did not repent. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes’’. Jesus spat saliva on the blind man’s eyes and touched the blind man’s eyes with His hands. Jesus touched him twice and after the second touch, the blind man was fully healed. Jesus told the man not to go back to Bethsaida.
VV 27-29, 27 Jesus, and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
Mark 8: 26 was the turning point of Mark’s gospel. Before this, Jesus was ministering to the public in Galilee. After this, Jesus left Galilee and ministered and to the 12 disciples. Caesarea Philippi was 25 miles north of Galilee. Philip the Tetrarch built it and named it after the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. There was a temple to worship Augustus as a god. There were 14 other pagan temples, the temple of Pan, the temple of Baal, etc. Since the Jordan River begins here, Israelites considered this to be the source of living water. Against this backdrop, Jesus asked the disciples who did the people think He was. They replied, John the Baptist, Elijah, and other prophets. When Jesus asked, ‘’Who do you think I am?’’, Peter confessed ‘’You are the messiah’’.
VV 30-33, 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
After revealing His Messianic identity, He warned the disciples not to disclose this fact to the public. He did not want to draw undue attention to Himself. Jesus prophesied His rejection, death, and resurrection. Peter rebuked Jesus but Jesus rebuked Peter saying, ‘’get behind me satan!’’.
VV 34-38, 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Jesus gives us two different approaches to life, deny yourself or indulge yourself, embrace the cross, or ignore the cross, lose your life for His sake or save your life for your own sake. Three ways to a meaningful life are determining self, dying to self, and enthroning Jesus.
A soul is more valuable than everything else in the world. If anyone is ashamed of Jesus on earth, He will be ashamed of him in His second coming. If anyone denied Jesus on earth, He will deny him in heaven.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. Teach us how to dethrone ourselves, die to ourselves, and enthrone You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.