Pastor's Post for Sunday 01.16.2022, on Mark 8:27-30 (part of Mark 8:27-9:1)

Your answer makes all the difference

It is really important to know who someone is – are they who they say they are? How do you know this? This is my U.S. Merchant Marine Document, proving who I am and that I could work on a U.S. Merchant vessel. At the time, this was as good at answering the question, “Who are you Mike?” as a Passport. Jesus asks his disciples (and you and me) a similar question in Mark 8:27, Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’”

Let me tell you a bit about the town of Caesarea Philippi to help you get a sense of the place. Here is a place beneath the shadow of the worship of the ancient god Baal. There are no less than fourteen temples recorded to that god as being in the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi. Then in Caesarea Philippi there rises a great hill under which there is a deep cavern in which it is said the Greek god Pan, the god of nature, finds its origin. This deep cavern is also said to be where the River Jordan springs to life. This makes Caesarea Philippi full of memories of Jewish history as the Jordan River plays such a significant part in their lives. Finally, in Caesarea Philippi there is a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of the Roman Emperor Caesar. "No one could look at Caesarea Philippi, even for a distance, without seeing that glistening marble and thinking of that might and of the divinity of Rome."[1] So, Caesarea Philippi is also a mix possible gods and of political leaders as god.

Those are a lot of powers vying and warring for one’s worship. Then, the disciples add to these choices the great and powerful leaders from Jewish history in Mark 8:28, “’Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’” That is a lot of choices.

Then Jesus ask, what I think is one of the most impart questions in Mark’s Gospel (or in the whole of the Scriptures) in Mark 8:29, “’But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’”

The questions ─ Well, who is he? How do you know this? What does it mean for your life? “’But what about you?’ Jesus asks. ‘Who do you say I am?’”

Your answer makes all the difference.

See you Sunday.


[1] Barclahy, 133-34.

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