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Steve Mickel: Who Do You Say Jesus Is?, Mark 8:11-9:5

April 4, 2022

Audio Recording

Mark contrasts what the religious leaders think about Jesus and what his disciples think about Jesus. In many ways, all of us are blind to knowing Jesus. Knowing who Jesus is does not happen immediately or a one-and-done decision; it is a progressive understanding of who Jesus is and what he came to do. Although we are all blind in one way or another, the difference between the disciples and everyone else is their openness to hear, to learn, and to obey. They constantly leaned in and asked genuine questions, not to trap Jesus, but to learn from Jesus.

Mark: The Gospel of Curiosity
Steve Mickel: Who Do You Say Jesus Is?, Mark 8:11-9:5

Sermon Transcript:

:00 You're listening to a live recording from Westside church in bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us.

00:07 There are a lot of different ideas about who Jesus is. And some people think that he was just a good man, a prophet, maybe historical figure. But the question that we're going to ask, and hopefully at least begin to answer is 2000 years old. Who do you say Jesus is? It's the ultimate question that I think all of humanity has to grapple with it someday. Who do you say Jesus is now? It matters. What other people say, who Jesus is maybe mentors in your life. Pastors, friends. Certainly it matters, but it doesn't compare to what you think it matters. Who you say Jesus is now mark. We're in the gospel of mark. You can turn to mark chapter eight, if you want to follow along. If you don't believe me, when I read from it, they maybe just have a lack of trust in general, grab a Bible, not maybe the best reason to read along with me, but it is a reason mark chapter eight, mark is an amazing storyteller.

01:21 And as we've been working through the gospel, I hope you're reading it. And I hope you'll see that the way that he brings different narratives together to kind of paint a picture, really ultimately to answer the question that we're asking today, who do you say Jesus is? And, and so the way we use different narratives together to kind of paint this picture is really amazing. Now, I think we've all seen interviews. You know, those interviews, especially in the news where the interviewer is trying to trap the interviewee to say something that they don't want to say or that the interviewer wants them to say. And this is the scene that we enter into in mark chapter eight, there's a group of religious leaders that are trying to trap Jesus to say something that he'll regret so that they can use against him, or to say something that they agree with, that they want him to say.

02:17 And so that's the picture that mark is painting for us in verse 11, we'll start mark chapter eight, the Pharisees that's this group of religious leaders came and began to argue with Jesus who argues with Jesus. As I was thinking about that, I was like, well, I've, I've argued with Jesus. So I guess that we shouldn't be too hard on these guys. Anyway, they came and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him, a sign from heaven to test him. They're looking for Jesus to do. America was really fascinating and kind of humorous is, is right before, like right before this, Jesus takes seven loaves of bread and feeds 4,000 people with bread leftover. And right before that, he heals a deaf man let's keep going. And right before that, I mean, it's just odd and odd. He's constantly giving them signs, but they are asking him for what, for the sign they want.

03:18 They want Jesus to do the ultimate sign, which is takeover Rome. They want Jesus to use all this power that he's displaying to and overwhelm the oppressor in their land, the Roman empire. And so that's really the sign that they're looking for is that, Hey, if you're who you say you are, and you've got all this going on for you, can you use it for me? It's not that different. The kinds of prayers we sometimes pray that God you would use who we know you are and the power that you have to work on for my benefit. And so they ask him, they're seeking a sign from him and you know what he does. He sighed deeply in his spirit and he probably shook his head and he says, why does this generation seek a sign? It's almost like, why do you seek a sign at all? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation. And he left them God into the boat again and went to the other side. Jesus doesn't want Jesus, isn't this entity that we can manipulate.

04:40 Well, I think sometimes we, as, especially as Christians, for those of us that are Christ followers, we think that, I mean, if I pray, he answers, this is the way it works, but we so often pray prayers that are not according to his will there, according to our will. And that's kind of what mark is describing here. And, and then Jesus tells his disciples. So we're just going to go kind of step-by-step through this chapter. So then, then Jesus tells his disciples right after this, after this confrontation with the Pharisees, he tells them, watch out, be alert for the 11, 11 in bread, right? The leaven of the Pharisees and of Harriet and the disciples are really seen very clearly because they had forgotten to bring bread. The text actually says that they forgot to bring bread. They had only one loaf of bread with them.

05:37 And so they're thinking Jesus is referring to some kind of bread that the farracies have that they're just not getting it. And then all this, this is really ironic because here are the leaders, the future leaders of the church who were just involved participants in a miracle of feeding 5,000 people, 4,000, over 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread. And they had plenty of leftover and they forgot the bread is just funny to me. And then it got real serious when I felt the Lord kind of point out to me, especially this past week, how often do the leaders of God's church, forget to consistently feed themselves from the work of Jesus. And then we hear yet have another moral failure In the body of Christ. It's just, it's just ironic. And, and then the 11, this leaven of the Pharisees, this Levin that Jesus talks about is this idea that Jesus would establish his kingdom using the ways of this world. That's the 11 Jesus is same, be aware of because it's tempting and intoxicating. This idea that Jesus would use his power to establish his kingdom on earth in the same way that other Kings and kingdoms established their way on this earth with power.

07:00 And Jesus is saying, be aware of that. And we've just finished a church history series a few weeks back, and we've showed you right throughout church history. This is what the church is constantly being tempted to do. Even in this day and hour, we are tempted to use the power of Jesus, the name of Jesus to establish what we think is his kingdom to make America a Christian nation again. And so we back in, we call out, we, we evoke the name of Jesus and to use his power, to do what we want him to do to establish his kingdom our way, Some of you are like really nervous right now. You can feel it. You're going to like, And it's just, it's funny to me, it's fine to me that, that we, we can, we like think we got it all figured out that we got Jesus all figured out. We know exactly what he wants. And all you have to do is read one page of any of the gospels. And you realize how often we don't have it figured out That we're constantly missing it. And that's one of what mark is doing here in this, in this chapter, as he's showing us that we, we, at times we might see clearly, but we don't see completely clearly that we sometimes, sometimes we know, but then we know in part, we don't know fully there's this, that there's this missing. We're kind of like, we're not quite seen, right.

08:31 And Jesus is saying, be aware of the leaven of the Pharisees, because it can distract you from my, what I'm at, what I'm actually trying to do. What my will actually is Stop trying to prop Jesus up. He doesn't need us to do that With worldly power Because it ends up like 11. It ruins the whole loaf of bread. When we mix the ways of this world with the ways of Jesus. And then some people bring a blind man. So this, so he goes from the 11 that the Pharisees, he brings a blind, Jesus heals a blind man. And so he, they, they bring him a blind man and, and Jesus takes the blind man outside of the village. And, and you know what Jesus does. He spits in his eyes. Yeah. I was like, what I understand. I mean, Jesus, son of God could do whatever he wants. He does whatever he wants and spits in this guy's eyes. And, and, and then he asked him, do you see anything in verse 24? And he looked up, Speaker 3

09:48 Does this,

09:50 He gets this stuff out of his eyes and he looks up and he says, well, I see people, but they look like trees walking. Maybe Jesus is having a bad day. I don't know. I mean, I mean, one touch, one word, right? I mean, we know if you read through the gospels, you like, it doesn't take much for Jesus to heal. Somebody and blindness is easy for him. Like what's going on here? Why is this a progressive healing? Why isn't an instantaneous one? And then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again. And the man opened his eyes and the sight was restored. And he saw every everything. Clearly. I think what, what mark is doing here is he's showing that through, through that this, that this man's physical blindness is very similar to the disciples, spiritual blindness,

10:48 That, that he, at one point he could see nothing and the disciples could see nothing. And then they could, the blind man could see a little bit, but not completely clearly, but, and the disciples can see a little bit, but not complete, complete clarity. And then there's this point where the blind man sees everything. And then you're going to see, oh, there's this revelation of who Jesus is that takes place. And so I think mark is, is putting all of these stories in a certain order together for us to see this progression that sometimes that we think we know what Jesus is doing, but we don't. And then sometimes we do think that we do see what he's doing clearly, but then we very quickly miss it and we misuse it. And so that's, what's happening here. And so, so then right after this man gets healed from his blindness.

11:37 Jesus takes his disciples and to Cesarea Philippine. And it's a long day journey. It's a long day journey. And, and he talks to them about, he asked them, who do people say that I am? And so they kind of a conversation around who, you know, some say you're Alijah, you know, a prophet, that kind of thing. And then Jesus asks them the question we're looking at today, but who do you say that I am? Those of you that are following me, those of you that are trying to live by my code. Who do you, who do you think I am? You guys agree? Do you think I'm just a prophet, a good guy? What are you? Who do you, who do you say that? I am funny, funny thing. My kids never asked me to help them with math. They always, but they always asked their mom always asked her mom, never asked me anybody. Want to guess why? No, seriously, this is feedback you give away when it gets why Somebody said that because I'm not good at it. No, I'm much better than my wife at math that didn't even occur to me in this.

12:52 And she would agree. The reason is, is because if I help them with math, I would give them clues. I would help them. Well, have you thought about this? What did your teacher tell you to do? What does the book say? We said, we'd open up the book. You know, Suzanne would do here. Just give me your pencil. This is you just do this and then you do this. And then that's the answer. And they're like, oh, thanks, mom. I get it. Now, two minutes later, yo mom, and I'm like, Suzanne, you can't go and take the test with them. You're not helping them out at all. But that's, what's kind of happening with the disciples and see, Jesus knew that his disciples needed to figure some things out. And he dropped plenty of clues. So many clues about who he is. And, and they, they kind of had to deal with it.

13:44 They had to figure it out. They had to ask questions. They had to ponder it. They had to make, they had to walk it out. They had to ask questions and, and, and they're beginning to see, but they don't always see clearly. And so they have to like, when this, when this question, who do you say I am? Jesus, isn't just going to come and tell you here. This is who I am. He wants you to discover who he is and what he's about. It's just like this blind man. Right? He's can see in part then there's we can see a little bit more clearly. That's how revelation of Jesus is. We think that our light bulbs go on, but they constantly with Jesus. They constantly go on, you know, one thing. And then, and then, you know another thing and you just, it keeps building like this.

14:36 And so, so, so Peter, so Jesus asked him, well, who do you say that I am Peter? I love Peter. Peter is like throughout this whole story. And by the way, most likely Peter helped mark write this gospel. Some call this the gospel of Peter, but actually penned by mark. But, but Peter chimes in, and this is what he says, you are the Christ. What that means is that Peter saying, you are the Messiah. So th the word crisis, not Jesus's last name, Jesus Christ. That's not Jesus' last name. It's a title. And it's the Messiah, which means it's the one, what Peter was saying is you're the one we've been waiting for. You're the one that's been prophesied in the pages of the old Testament that would come and would deliver us from our enemies that you would set us free. That we're we're we're.

15:30 And what Peter is thinking, when he says to Jesus, you are the Christ, the Messiah, he's saying you're the king. And he's also saying, and I'm kind of expecting you to do what all Kings do when they come in and take over that. When you come and you establish your kingdom, that means all the other kingdoms of this world will submit to your kingdom. That's what Peter is thinking. When he says you are the Christ. And so we say, yes, Peter, you got, you got, you got it. Right. Sort of, yes, Jesus is the Messiah, but he didn't come to do what you think he came to do. And, and so Peter saying, you are the one true king. And then this is what Jesus does right after. Peter's kind of a moment, verse 31. And he began, Jesus began to teach them that the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed. And after three days rise again. And he said, this plainly was like, it was clear as Jesus could possibly, he didn't use a story here. He didn't use a metaphor. He didn't, it wasn't a parable. That one thing meant another thing. It was as plain as day. You guys, I am going to suffer and be rejected and killed.

17:00 But three days later, I'm going to rise again. This is just that plainly Peter takes him aside and began to rebuke him. Why? Because his vision of Jesus, the king, isn't what Jesus just described. He was thinking Jesus was going to do something completely, quite the opposite. And so he rebukes Jesus. By the way, I love that Jesus had a kind of relationship with his closest friends, that they felt comfortable rebuking him. That's amazing. That's a whole different sermon, but turning and seeing as disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, get behind me, Satan. Speaker 6

17:41 Oh, whoa. Like,

17:44 That's serious. You guys that's like, like, you know, that's not a little slap on the hand. He's like, yo, bro, you're not representing me. Get behind me, Satan for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man, See, we, we want it. We want to have a vision of Jesus and then take that vision and put them into our context and have them do what we need him to do. And Jesus is like, I'm fully other, I am not of this world. I don't play by the same rules. I'm not going to take over like rest of the kingdoms. Do, I'm not going to invade. I'm not going to take over. I'm not going to use force. I'm not going to do what you think I should do. I'm not going to do it. It's like your team, just like, it's like your team just realized we're going to win guys. We're going to win. He's the Messiah. I just said it. He agreed to it. Let's get we're going to win. And then he says, but we got to lose first. He was like, no, that's not the way it's supposed to work. Like Charlie brown says winning ain't everything, but losing ain't anything. And that's how we live our lives. That's how we think.

19:05 And imagine what Peter is thinking. He just had this aha moment with Jesus. And that Jesus is like, it's like, dude, you're not getting it. You just, you saw it. You're so close. But, but I don't blame Peter because I do the exact same thing. I take my vision of Jesus and I use him And I, and I say things that Jesus doesn't want that, oh, Jesus wants this. Oh, Jesus is going to do that. Oh, Jesus. Won't do that. As if, As if we can all just figure them out and have them all neat and tidy. It's more like we see something, a revelation and then we don't and then we see something it's like, oh, I see it. I see you. That's who you are. And then a moment later it gets a little blurry. So who do you say Jesus is? The one thing that in answering this question is I'm convinced of is that there is no coming to Jesus. There is no revelation of Jesus on our terms. He invites us to come alongside him and participate with him and allow his life to speak for itself.

20:33 And that's what he does after he taught them that he must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and be killed. And after three days rise again. And Peter rebukes him after that whole moment, right? Immediately following a cause of the together to him, verse 34 with his disciples. And he said to them, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me for whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it In a paragraph. Jesus just described what it means to follow Jesus in just this moment, momentary interaction with Peter and the disciples in the crowd he's describing for us who he is and what he's about the problem is is we don't like it. We don't want it to be about the cross. We don't want it to be about sacrifice. We don't want it to be about laying our lives down for the other. We don't want it to be about that. We want him to come and use his power for our benefit. And it's just simply not his way. His way is cruciform. It's laying down our lives for those around us. It's loving our enemies. It's doing good to those who would hurt us. It is, it is completely other. It is backwards. It doesn't make any sense to this world. It is not the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. It is other than

22:19 To come alongside him and lose, Lose ourselves, lay ourselves down for his sake. It's, it's the vision that people over the centuries have grabbed onto. And because of that, the gospel of Jesus has never failed. When we hold onto, when his people see him for who he really is and run towards him and not try to use him

22:50 For their own benefit. One invite the worship team back up. And it's not the end of the story. Okay? So this is, this is an amazing moment. It's kind of a turning 0.6 days later after this, this heavy moment of Jesus prophesied his own death and his own resurrection after the invitation to come and follow me into a cruciform life, all of this, this, the Pharisees demanding a sign 11, not being able to see the blind man. All of this stuff is building towards this moment. I believe in chapter nine of mark, Jesus takes Peter and James and John up onto a mountain.

23:35 And he led them up in verse two of chapter nine, up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, you know what transfiguration is? It's it's like, as if I know, but this is, this is what we can put together is that Jesus became his resurrected self in glory. It's like, it's like when Jesus was ascended to the father, that, that who he was in that moment that were, that they got to see a picture of that for a moment prior to it actually happening later. So it's the resurrected Jesus in his glory on, on this mountain. And this is so that's what transfigured, he was transfigured before them and his clothes became radiant, intensely white as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them, Elijah with Moses. So Elijah Moses show up to, I mean, they're like on the mountain together and they were talking with Jesus. They were having a conversation, man. I wonder what they're talking about. I'm pretty sure they're talking about Moses. This is his first time in the promised land. I think Jesus and him, and probably having a conversation about that. Anyway, they're talking with Jesus. It's this amazing moment. And Peter said to Jesus rabbi, I mean like who interrupts this moment? First? What human beings feels like confident enough to go. Like Moses is standing there, Elijah there, Jesus is already. And it's like, ah, excuse me,

25:09 Jesus rabbi. It's good that we're here. Literally. It's good that we're here. Let us, can we, can we make three tents, One for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah for, he did not know what to say for, he was terrified. I'm sure he's sitting by mark. He's telling him this story and it makes you make sure they know that I was completely out of my mind, man. I didn't know what I was saying. When I suggested that it was totally inappropriate. I should have just kept my mouth shut. He didn't know what to say. And a cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud. This is my beloved son, listen to him and suddenly looking around. They no longer saw anyone with them, but Jesus only, I think

26:01 Our response, when we get to see Jesus in his glory, our best response is to worship is when the blinders come off for that moment in time where we actually see Jesus for who he truly is, that we don't immediately. We shouldn't immediately start to try to plan out how we might use what we see of him and who he actually is for our own gain. We should just stop for a minute and worship Jesus for who he is, a glorified savior, a resurrected, the resurrected one, the lamb that was slammed before the beginning of time, he is the alpha and the omega, the, and the end he was there in the beginning. He was, he is, he will forever be the almighty one. He is that's who he is. He's more than just a Messiah. He is more than just God in the flesh. And all of those things are amazing in and of themselves, But he is not of this world. Let us not bring him to this level And try to use him For our own game And be encouraged because knowing him really knowing him doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen immediately or from a one and done decision. It's a progressive understanding of Jesus that we're still, I'm still, my eyes are still being opened.

27:43 And today I want our eyes to be open just a little bit more to see another layer of who Jesus is. And so we're going to worship together. And would you allow Jesus to open up your eyes a bit more today? Would you stand with me?

28:09 I felt in this moment, I wasn't sure I was going to do it because what I'm going to ask of you, is it will make you uncomfortable. I felt compelled though. I felt like, And the reason I'm going to ask you to do what I'm going to ask you to do is because I know in my own life that sometimes I need to do something physically that expresses my heart spiritually, And I don't want to stay. And maybe you feel this way too. I don't want to stay At the bottom of the mountain, Blinded by all the distractions of this life. I want to, I want to go up the mountain with Jesus. I think he's inviting us there to see him for who he really is the glorified one To allow him to remove another layer of veneer from our eyes so that we can see him just a little bit more clearly today. And if that is your desire, like it is mine. I'm going to ask you to take a step. Maybe it's a step from where you're at right now, just to the aisle next to you, but it's a physical demonstration. And for some of you, maybe it's to take a step all the way up here to the front, to the altar,

29:34 As a sign of Jesus. I want to know you. I want to see you. I want to experience your, I want, I want the distractions in this life to fade away from moment. I want to see you clearly. And so if that's your heart with me, with you during the song, at some point, if, if you have the boldness to come and join me here at the front or in the Isles and take a step toward Jesus as a symbol of what you, what you want him to do in you what's worship.