Saturday, July 4, 2020

Prophet to Priest, Jesus Turns the Corner - Mark 8:27-33 - July 5, 2020

These are the Sermon Notes for July 5, 2020. We are now meeting at the church with limited seating and specific procedures and protocols that need to be followed. Read our Returning to Worship plan here. You can still watch our livestream service every Sunday at 9:37 am on our facebook page or watch the livestream recordings any time.

Mark 8:27-33 Prophet to Priest, Jesus Turns the Corner
Good morning! We are continuing our study in the Gospel of mark chapter 8, verses 27-33, page 844 in the pew Bibles.
You’ll remember from last week’s study that we talked about Jesus holding the threefold offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, he’s the only One who is qualified for all three and how each phase of Jesus’ ministry He was, or will be, fulfilling each of those offices.
Up to this point Jesus had been serving as a prophet, THE Prophet, speaking on behalf of God and calling people to repentance and faith, but now Jesus is turning a corner in His ministry, having served as the Prophet, He is beginning down the path of Priest.
I want to break our text down into two pieces, verses 27-30, and then verses 31-33. The publishers did us a favor in sticking a heading right in the middle so we’ll know when to quit!
But first, let’s pray.
27 And Jesus 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?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
Jesus and His disciples were just outside Caesarea Philippi on the shoulders of Mount Hermon in the northern part of Israel. I have been to Caesarea Philippi, it one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. It is a place full of natural springs and cliffs and caves. When I visited there there was even water gently bubbling right up through the paved pathways to a giant cave that was called, “the Grotto of Pan,” also known as, “the Gates of Hades.”
Knowing that that was where Jesus and the disciples were becomes really important if you read Matthew’s account of Peter’s confession where Jesus says, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Geography isn’t just novel, it’s really important!
Ok, back to the text. Jesus asked his disciples who people were saying that He was, after all this time of preaching and teaching and performing miracles, have people caught on yet?
Well, had they? No. They were getting there, but no.
The disciples told Him that people were saying that He was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the prophets. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
The people that the disciples quoted weren’t meaning to be disrespectful, they were well meaning, they were aiming at the truth but they were missing the mark. The people recognized that Jesus had been sent by God, that God’s power was at work in Him as proven by His miracles, but their understanding was limited, cloudy, like the blind man from last week.
So Jesus moved His question to the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”
This is, perhaps, the most important questions ever asked of anybody! And the response is equally important!
Was Jesus John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah reincarnated, or raised from the dead? That’s the only way the people could explain the power that was at work in Him. Clearly, He wasn’t, He isn’t.
“But who do you say that I am?” The “you” is plural here. Do you guys think that I’m just a ghost?
Peter speaks up on behalf of the disciples and confesses, short and sweet, “You are the Christ.”
It’s important to remember that the Gospel of Mark is Mark’s record of Peter’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry. In Matthew’s account of this event, in Matthew 16:13-20, he goes into more detail on Jesus’ response to Peter, but Peter, in his humility, elected to leave it out of his own account. 
And to spare you a sermon within a sermon I won’t quote it to you now either. But I would encourage you to read it for yourselves. There is a lot in there and a lot of false teaching has been based on those verses. I would be happy to talk about it and your thoughts on it some other time.
Matthew does call Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ the bedrock that he will build His church on, not Peter himself, but faith in Jesus as the Christ.
Peter declared, on behalf of the Twelve, their conviction that Jesus is the Christ.
Christ is not Jesus’ last name, it is His title. The Greek word, “Christ,” and the Hebrew word, “Messiah,” both mean the same thing, Anointed One, God’s Anointed.
Peter simply states on behalf of the Twelve, “You are the Christ.” He doesn’t say, “We think you’re the Christ,” or, “We believe you are the Christ.” This was not a statement of opinion or belief, it was a declaration of adoration in the language of worship, “You are the Christ! God’s Anointed One! Messiah!”
God’s Anointed One! Who else got anointed in the Old Testament? Kings, that’s who.
The prophet Samuel anointed Saul as king of Israel, and later king David. The Jews were looking for a Messiah like that, a new King sent from God to free them from their oppressors the Romans, to reestablish the kingdom of Israel.
But Jesus isn’t that kind of King, His ministry as Messiah has a much broader scope.
Were the disciples wrong in confessing that Jesus is the Christ? No. But did they understand what that really meant? Still no.
This confession marks a turning point in the ministry of Jesus, adding to the office of Prophet the office of Priest. But that’s not what the disciples thought was happening.
He strictly charged them to tell no one about Him. If they did, at this point, they wouldn’t tell the story right, they’d tell about a Jesus who was a prophet, and they’d tell about a Jesus who was a king, but they’d leave out the part that He must also be a priest.
Let’s look at the second half of our text, verses 31-33.
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
What is going on here?! We go from Peter confessing on behalf of the disciples that Jesus is the Christ, this great moment of faith to, ”Get behind me Satan?!”
This is the proof that the disciples, Peter included, still did not understand. Peter was good with Jesus’ role of Prophet, and He was clearly behind His role as King, but the idea of Jesus serving as Priest made no sense to him.
The High Priest, in Israel, would bring the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkle it on the Ark of the Covenant inside the Holy of Holies, the innermost part of the Temple in Jerusalem. And he would do this once a year on the Day of Atonement. Today we call it Yom Kippur, this year it falls on September 27-28.
When Jesus began to plainly show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised, He was describing His role as High Priest.
The difference was, was that Jesus would provide the blood for the sacrifice Himself, his own blood would be shed to atone for the sin of the world.
Hebrews 7:23-28 says,
23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 
26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
Peter wasn’t ready for this, the disciples didn’t understand this yet, so Peter pulled Jesus aside and rebuked Him. Can you imagine how that conversation went? 
Well, we don’t have to imagine, “Lord, don’t talk that way! You’re Messiah, you’re the King, we won’t let them touch you!” “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”
And the Lord Jesus responded, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Simon, who Jesus had now officially renamed, Peter, a word that sounds like the word for, “rock,” Jesus now called Satan, a word borrowed from Aramaic and given as a title to the devil that means, “adversary.”
Peter wanted to skip from Prophet to King and skip over Priest all together. He didn’t want the Lord to suffer, He didn’t want the Lord to be killed, his mind was set on the things of man. 
The things of man, the mindset of man, is to protect oneself, to put ourselves first, our comfort, our best interests, that’s all Peter was doing. “You’re the King, Jesus, you don’t have to suffer and die, we won’t let that happen!”
But Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, and His service as Priest was necessary for all of mankind to be freed from our real oppressor, our own sin and sinfulness.
And though Peter failed here, his confession still rings true, “You are the Christ.”
John Calvin wrote, “The confession is short but it embraces all that is contained in our salvation; for the designation, ‘Christ,’ or, ‘Anointed,’ includes both an everlasting kingdom and an everlasting priesthood, to reconcile us to God, and, by atoning for our sins through His sacrifice, to obtain for us a perfect righteousness and having received us under His protection, to uphold and supply and enrich us with every description of blessing.”
That’s what we receive when we confess that Jesus is the Christ, atonement for our sins, reconciliation with Father God, perfect righteousness, and protection, and supply, and every description of blessing.
All because Jesus is our Prophet, Priest, and King.
May we all hear His Word, receive His sacrifice, and submit to and serve Him.