Series on MarkJesus, who drew crowds of thousands, also knew how to thin them to a dozen minus one. Imagine this, the greatest miracle worker who ever lived one day looks around and sees only His “lucky dozen.” In a full blast of humanity, He asks them, “Are you too going to leave me?” The possibility of loneliness stirs even the heart of one who is Divine.
And all because of a sermon, not even a bad one, just one that was asking a bit too much. The 12 complained that the talk of drinking His blood and eating His flesh was a little hard to swallow. Chutzpah. That’s how we would say it today. The audacity to speak the way He did. Jesus had plenty of that. But one almost has to when speaking of his own death.
Fast forward to Mark 8 where the crowds are effectively trimmed. The “tickets” to see Jesus were now on the shelf with the other about to expire stuff. The ones who are still coming are only there for a free meal. Jesus once again turns to His Core 12 and had another moment where he wondered out loud if His closest friends were also abandoning ship.
Earlier Simon Peter had essentially said, “We are staying put. Your words transcend this world and we’ve seen enough to believe that you are the one God promised a long time ago.” Not bad for a fisherman.
But he would top that one when Jesus asked the 12 to define God and give an example. No, that’s not exactly how it went down, but it’s close to that. People had multiple-choice answers to the question of who Jesus was. John the Baptist? Elijah? One of the prophets?
Jesus was not a big fan of multiple-choice tests. He was looking for one right answer and Peter again gave to Him, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And just like that, the secret was out. It was less than a year before His crucifixion, the 12 students had just had their midterm. The finals were to happen at the foot of the cross.
Jesus had less than 12 months to prepare the 12 for what was to come, but everything from then on would be built upon that confession of Jesus’s Messianic identity, which is where we unashamedly still stand today. Peter rocks.
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