Scripture Reading — Mark 8:27-31
“What about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” — Mark 8:29
Jesus’ question is kind of like a midterm exam, when a test is given halfway through the course to see how far the students have come. After asking his disciples what they have been hearing from other people about who he is, Jesus gets to the real question: “Who do you say I am?”
Peter blurts out, “You are the Messiah,” and he is gloriously correct. This is the first time anyone—other than evil spirits—have properly and clearly identified Jesus. Peter gets high marks for this statement, but there is more to being a disciple than getting an answer right on a test.
There will also be times when Peter tragically backs down from this shining moment. Sadly, he will later deny Jesus when it becomes dangerous to follow him: “I don’t know this man you’re talking about,” Peter says (Mark 14:71).
Some days we can see clearly who Jesus is, and we are able to confidently confess his name. These are wonderful moments, and we should celebrate them. But on other days we can compromise our testimony, and those times can turn out to be quite painful.
Thankfully Jesus isn’t finished working with Peter, even though he passes this test with flying colors. Jesus isn’t done with any of us yet either. There is still much to learn about Jesus, the Messiah!
Dearest Jesus, thank you for showing me who you are and for helping me to understand. Help me to grow in knowing that you are the Messiah, my Savior! Amen.
Scripture Reading — Mark 8:22-26
Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” — Mark 8:23
When you learn a new game—maybe a card game or board game—it can take a while before you fully understand it. The first time it is explained to you, you begin to understand, but not fully, not right away.
Discipleship is like that. It involves a learning process of coming to know who Jesus is and what he came to do.
Today’s story about healing a man from blindness is a parable of sorts that also teaches us about discipleship. It is a curious story because usually when Jesus heals someone, it is like hitting a home run in baseball—you can run all the way around the bases on one hit. But in this story the healing is done in two stages. It goes part of the way at first, like a hit that gets you halfway around the bases—and then another hit gets the job done. Why is that?
The disciples were beginning to catch on to who Jesus was, and it’s as if Jesus were asking them, “Do you see anything?” Well, they did see in part, but they were still not sure that they understood Jesus fully. And that is understandable because we are only halfway through the gospel of Mark.
We are at the midpoint of the book of Mark, and it’s a good place to gauge how well we see Jesus, because there is much more to come. The first half is mostly about who Jesus is, and the second half will be about what he came to do.
Jesus, help me to see and understand you more fully and completely. Please be patient with me as I learn more and more about you and your love for me. Amen.