Day 35 (Fri, Sept 12, 2014)

Peter Confesses Jesus

60 total verses: Matthew 16:5-28; Mark 8:13-38; Luke 9:18-27.

Brief description of action taking place or point being made

105. Leaven of the Pharisees in Matthew 16:5-12; Mark 8:13-21
106. Blind man cured in Bethsaida in Mark 8:22-26
107. Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ in Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30
108. Jesus rebukes Peter in Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-9:1; Luke 9:18-27

General questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

Specific questions on this passage

After Completing the Bible Reading

Broader outline of each section of passage

Matthew 16:5-12; Mark 8:13-21. Jesus warns the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees. They think he is upset because they didn’t bring enough bread. Jesus realized this, and challenges them to think about when he fed the five thousand and the four thousand with just a handful of loaves. Then the disciples understood he was talking to them about the teaching of the Pharisees.

Mark 8:22-26. Jesus used an unusual means to heal this blind man — he spit on his eyes! Then Jesus asked him what he saw, and he said he couldn’t see very well, because people looked like trees walking. So Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes, and this time he cook see perfectly well.

Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20. The version in Matthew has a lot more important detail. Both have Jesus asking the disciples who people say he is. John the Baptist and Elijah are the responses they cite. But then Peter tells Jesus that he believes he is the Christ. Jesus responds by telling Peter that he figured that out because God revealed it to him. And that on that (probably confession that Jesus is the Christ) Jesus would build his church. He then mentions power given to him (and the disciples) to bind and loose things on earth.

Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-9:1; Luke 9:21-27. In the first part of this section, Jesus tells his disciples that he would suffer many things and be killed. But Peter rebuked Jesus, saying this should not happen. But then Jesus strongly rebuked Peter, saying that he was thinking with an earthly mind, and did not understand what God was doing.

Then in the second section, Jesus said that all of his followers must take up their cross daily and follow him. Then he added that some would not taste death until they saw the kingdom of God

My favorite passage and other random thoughts

The verse I picked as my favorite in this chapter is Luke 9:23, “‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me'” (ESV). This verse has always been a challenge to me. I don’t know if it will ever be easy for me to do, or whether it is ever easy for anybody to do. But this tells us the way to follow Jesus. And it’s not easy. It says that if we really want to follow Jesus, we must put our interests aside, and take up the interests of God. We are to do what Jesus wants us to do in each and every situation, through every moment of each day. The cross was the way people were put to death, and it wasn’t an easy death. It is a little difficult to think exactly how to apply this. If you picked up your cross, you were going to die that day. But here Jesus says to take up our cross each day. In light of Jesus’ death on the cross, one wonders whether Jesus was being literal about physically losing our lives, or speaking a little more metaphorically about it. Probably the latter.

To paraphrase what I think Jesus is saying, he wants us to be so attuned to his leading, and to have such a desire to follow him, that we seem as if our own goals no longer exist. This last phrase reflects both the idea of denying oneself and carrying the cross as if going to our own crucifixion. People on their way to die don’t have a lot of long-term goals.

I do think it is a mistake to have this as one’s only verse, because it could lead to a way of living that God never intended. Psalms 37:4 says that if we delight ourselves in God, “he will give us the desires of our heart”. And Ephesians 2:10 says that we were created “in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Somehow, in the process of denying ourselves and seeking God, His good plan for us is revealed. So while it involves dying, it also involves some resurrecting, too.

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