Mark 8:27-38Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" And they answered him, "John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Messiah." And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
This is not exactly last Sunday's sermon. I usually write my sermon on Wednesday and then continue to mull it over the rest of the week which is what I did with this one. By Saturday I decided to re-write it, only I didn't actually formally put it down on paper. So dear reader, if you really wanted to hear last Sunday's sermon, you had to have been there. By the way, We meet at 9:15 Sunday mornings and evening prayer is Wednesday at 5:30.
Anyway, here is the sermon I didn't give.
Who Are You and what exactly is a messiah?
It was so good to have bible study last Tuesday. I had forgotten how important that time is for me. We get to wrestle with important questions like, “ In our own lives, how can we discern the difference between what is of human and what is of Divine origin?” Or, “Why did Jesus then “sternly” order the disciples not to tell anyone else about this?”
We have been together as a bible study group long enough that we are comfortable with each others opinions. We are not to the point where we are finishing each others sentences but we do have a bond that allows us to understand those opinions and comments in a deeper way. Bible study makes a nice spring board for me to start typing out my sermon the next day.
When Jesus asks his disciples who do people say that I am he gets a response that people are saying he is one of the mighty names in Jewish history like Elijah or one of the prophets. When asked by Jesus “Who do you believe that I am,” Peter says, “you are the messiah.” I wish he had asked one more question; “what does the word messiah mean to you.”
When I think of answering that question, unfortunately what first thing that pops into my head is the theme song from Mighty Mouse. Many of you remember it as I do. It goes: Mister trouble never hangs around when you hear that mighty sound, Here I come to save the day. It means that Mighty Mouse is on the way.
I kind of think Peter saw the messiah in a similar light. The messiah was going to get rid of all their troubles and for all intents and purposes. The messiah would liberate the Jews from Roman tyranny. The messiah would save the day!
Jesus tells them it is true. He is the messiah but he is not that kind of messiah. He says he is going to be rejected by the elders and others of his day. He will suffer greatly and he will be killed. None of them wanted to hear that. When does the save the day part come into play? What about sending the Romans back where they came from? Jesus saves the day in a different way. He talks about salvation of the soul. Jesus is showing us The Way and he asks us to be his followers.
This is the time in Iowa when we have people running for president and they tell us pretty much the same thing that Mighty Mouse does. Mr. Trouble will not hang around if they are elected president. Each of the candidates will save the day. They tell us we are on the precipice of some moral, financial and cultural cliff and (lucky for us) they are here to save us.
Salvation is ours and it is ours for the asking. Jesus told us how to do it when he said, “those who lose their life for my sake and the gospel will save it. But, does this mean we will all have to become martyrs? Do we all have to die? No, but we are told to focus not on all the stuff in our lives that we are attached to. We are to focus on other things, on spiritual things. What good does it do for a person to gain all of the worldly things and lose his eternal soul.