Here, in the middle of the book of Mark, we find a pivotal chapter. Up until now Jesus ministry has been about healing and speaking to the multitudes. His focus could be framed as ‘evangelism’ as He invites people to come to know Him. Following the confession of Peter, the focus shifts to discipleship, as Jesus devotes more time to teaching His group of followers about what it really means to be His disciple.
We begin with another story of Jesus feeding the multitude. We are struck by His compassion. We note that the people eat and are satisfied. They were listening to His teaching for three days… they had been filled in more ways than one! Then the Pharisees ask for a sign (admittedly this is a different location). It’s curious that with all that Jesus has done, they still need a sign – they demonstrate their unbelief.
Jesus cautions his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees, referring to this unbelief. He questions them as He summarizes the two stories of feeding multitudes, “Do you have eyes, but fail to see…?”
Jesus heals a blind man… He asks him “Do you see anything?” This is the only place where a miracle happens in two stages, but when it’s complete, the text emphatically states it three times…
His eyes were opened,
His sight was restored,
H saw everything clearly…. Lord open my eyes so that I may see.
Then the story moves to Caesarea Philippi, a pagan territory – Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do you say that I am.” Peter answers correctly, “You are the Christ.” Peter has in mind a victorious rise to power for this Messiah; Jesus launches into teaching about his death that is to come. He begins to explain that following Him is giving up your life, denying self, taking up your cross, and following Jesus.
This chapter left me thinking “Who do you say that I am?” I found myself wondering if I really believe that He is who He says He is. Do I live it out, point to Him, listen to Him, cooperate with Him? In the stuff I my life, who do I say that He is?
Lord Jesus, open our eyes so that we may see. Open our ears so that we may hear.