Reflections: The Confession of St. Peter

Today’s Reading: Mark 8:27-9:1

Daily Lectionary:Ezekiel 40:1-4; 43:1-12; Romans 8:18-39

And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Text of the Reflection.  “Who is Jesus?” is the question that runs through all the readings this week, starting with John the Baptist’s identification of Jesus as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world and continuing with Isaiah identifying Jesus as the Lord’s Servant and Paul mentioning that we have fellowship with our Lord Jesus.  Today, as we celebrate the Confession of St. Peter, Jesus bluntly asks the question.  He starts by asking “Who do people say that I am?”  That’s a question that you would hesitate to ask even of a friend, in case they would tell you something that people are saying behind your back about you that you don’t want to know.  But after the disciples answer that question, Jesus asks them who they, the disciples, say He is.  Peter answers that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.  You would expect a recognition that Peter was right or some kind words from Jesus.  Instead, Jesus tells the disciples not to talk about His identity as the Christ.

Then, He goes on to say that it’s necessary for Him to suffer and die and after three days, rise from the dead.  That doesn’t seem very Messiah-like, does it?  Messiahs don’t die, Christs don’t suffer, and the Lord’s servant shouldn’t go through these things that Jesus said He would go through.  This seems absurd to the point that the Christ-confessing Peter pulls Jesus aside to ask, “Are you sure?”  What a difference between “You are the Christ” and “I’m not sure you’ve thought this through.”  

How often do we look at the actions of God and think, “It doesn’t seem like God is doing what He should.”  You struggle with God’s actions seeming ridiculous to you, or to anyone else.  That’s why it’s so important that Jesus is the Christ.  What you think of God’s actions isn’t nearly as important as who Jesus is.  He is the Messiah, the Christ who has come to save you from your sin, even your sin of thinking that Jesus is being God wrong.  Your Lord is the Christ who saves you with His great love. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Heavenly Father, You revealed to the apostle Peter the blessed truth that Your Son Jesus is the Christ. Strengthen us by the proclamation of this truth that we too may joyfully confess that there is salvation in no one else; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

-Pastor Peter W. Ill is Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Millstadt, Illinois.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.