Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lent Day 21 - Mark 8:22-9:1

 How clearly do you see Jesus? These two stories, though in different cities, are coupled together by the theme of seeing clearly. The first is in the city of Bethsaida and the second in Caesarea Philippi. In the first story Jesus heals a blind man. This is not a straight forward healing story as Jesus must heal the man twice. After he first time the man doesn't see clearly.

In the second story, Jesus questions His disciples about who people are saying He is. The answers are many but incorrect. In Jesus' time people expected a leader that would physically rule over the people in a godly and political manner. Peter's affirmation is that Jesus is the Messiah, but we see his answers is not totally accurate when Peter rebuked Jesus. Jesus explains that His Messiah-ship will come with suffering, persecution, and even death. Peter's rebuke is trying to correct Jesus' faulty notions. Only failed Messiahs would have such problems. This reveals that Peter does not see clearly how Jesus will be a Messiah. Like Peter and others of his generation, we too can make Jesus be the kind of Christ we want instead of the Christ we need. Jesus declares His generation is not seeing clearly but they will when the Kingdom of God comes with power. Thus Mark leaves open the question to us, will we have the eyes to see clearly who Jesus is?
How do we do like Peter? How do we confess with our lips great affirmations about God but continue to fail to comprehend Jesus' message and action in the world? How do we box God in, instead of allowing God to define Himself? What do you think keeps us from "seeing clearly?"
What do you think Jesus means that His followers, disciples, will also "must deny himself and take up their cross?" What does that look like in 2011? What is keeping you from doing that today?
How do you answer that question from Jesus "Who do you say that I am?" (Leave your response in the comment section so we can see the different responses.)
How might you describe what a Christian looks like from this passage? How does that challenge your life?

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