Where Do Your Interests Rate?-September 23, 2012
Scripture: Mark 8:27-38
We find here in Mark’s gospel that time was not wasted with Jesus that even as they walked from one place to the next Jesus teaches them in a relaxed manner bu asking them questions. Not all teaching is communicating information but is rather seeing how the information is understood processed and incorporated is the highest form of education. Jesus then asks His disciples this question, “who do people say that I am?” To put it another way, one might ask what are people saying about me. what have you heard? It’s important to note that just because you have heard something also doesn’t mean that it is accurate or truthful. It is possible to use logic of their day and come up with the same ideas that others said about Jesus but they are not the truth revealed. Today there are many opinions on Jesus’ identity. Who is He? Some think a great teacher, a good moral man, a prophet, the greatest human being that ever-lived. While there is some element of truth in these statements they are not the full truth revealed about His identity.
Jesus after listening to what the disciples said that others thought about Him (realizing they could be expressing person opinion) asks them directly, “who do you say that I am?” He now has addressed them, and they are to give an answer the answer will reveal their hearts, and also their ability to be able to discern the truth revealed in Him from the speculation from the world. Do you want your answer to come from the world that is guessing, or from the creator who is Lord over all. Peter, is never one to go half-way, jumps in with the answer without necessarily thinking about the implications of his answer and that is exposed in great detail further in the passage. He understood the truth revealed but had his own supposition about what his statement meant and had not considered the cost. Peter’s response was “Thou are the Christ”, which is a staggering thought in and of itself, but with it is a deeper understanding of what the cost of such a statement could mean.
Jesus then tells the others not to share this information with others, and then begins 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. Hold the phone what did He just say? Peter just acknowledged you are the Christ and now rather than fighting or using your awesome power you are talking about suffering and dying. Dying…is something that we all know will befall us. Dying is something I believe the disciples where willing to do if they could go down with a fight, but to just give up and die? The man they expected to be there conquering hero is now talking about dying without a fight, this can’t be. Peter thinks Jesus must be mistaken and pulls Him to the side and begins to rebuke Him. At this moment if Peter believes Jesus is all that He claims to be then He must honor and worship Him as Lord and follow Him in obedience. Peter was not so sure He wanted to follow Jesus into sacrificial death. So he pulls Jesus aside trying to get Him to change His comments.
Jesus then tells Peter to get behind Him and calls him Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” The issue was not that Jesus believed Peter himself to be Satan but he was doing the work of the adversary trying to look to any other interests than those of God. The interests of God are priority, not just one in the top of a list of priorities. The really is only one priority to do the will of God to bring Him glory. Where do your interests rate? Do you love something more than the interest of God? Perhaps sports, money, your appearance, television, and the list could go on and on. We have those things that are priority when we invest our time and money in those interest. Is it still true now that you have now interests beyond God?
The further instruction to the disciples mentions that they must deny themselves and follow Him, putting their interests to the side for the interests of God. Trying to hold on to the things of this world and their own life, they will lose both in this world and in hereafter. However, in giving up your life for Him you are trusting both the time here and the hereafter to Him. The God of all can be trusted both for our eternity and our daily living. Using another financial analogy Jesus asks, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” The question is pointed and implies a double loss, because whatever we have in this world will eventually be lost to time or death, there is nothing permanent, and the second loss is that our soul would be lost to Him for all eternity. What a devastating blow.
Those that feel shame about Jesus now and are unwilling to be lights to the world are in reality not His anyway. This world needs the people of God to boldly be the people of God and live in such a way as to demonstrate that to the world. Furthermore, Jesus says that our failure to acknowledge Him in the world will make Jesus ashamed in His glory to acknowledge us. Be the light of the world, count the cost, and follow Him.