Four tiny words

As a church we're spending four weeks reading the gospel of Mark, leading up to a thanksgiving and commitment day next Sunday. We're reading it individually but if you follow the reading guide it means we're all reading the same thing on the same day. Or, if you're like me, you're forgetting about it all week and catching up on the weekend. (I know I can't be the only one who's done that!)

The reading for the other day included that pivotal part of Mark:
And he asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ."** (Mark 8 v 29)

I've heard this little exchange so often that in some ways I've become immune to it and what it means. It sounds so matter-of-fact - "you are the Christ". It sounds like nothing. It could just as easily be "You are a carpenter" or "You're a really dynamic speaker with 12 good friends." It sounds matter-of-fact but in reality Peter is saying something amazing and history-changing.
  • He's saying that finally - finally - the fulfilment of God's promises has come.
  • He's saying that God is faithful.
  • He's saying that God's kingdom is here and that the redemption of his people has begun.
  • Even though it becomes obvious later that he doesn't fully understand what the Christ has come to do, he's saying, "You are the one who makes it possible for me to stand in the presence of the most holy God - fully welcomed and without fear."
The whole weight of history is in those four tiny words... You are the Christ.

**(For those who aren't aware, 'Christ' is not Jesus' surname; it's a title which means 'anointed one'. It's the Greek version of the Hebrew word 'Messiah'.)


Givinya De Elba said...

I like when you said, "...he doesn't fully understand..." and I guess that encourages me to call Him the Christ in my life even when I'm confused, scared, anxious or just don't get it.

And bit like Job saying, "It's all gone belly-up, blessed be the name of the Lord."

And in Habakkuk "Though the fig tree does not blossom ... yet will I rejoice in the Lord."

So many people before me have managed to rejoice simply because Jesus is The Christ. I wonder why it's hard for me, when things get dark.

Femina said...

I find the cluelessness of the disciples enormously encouraging. When I'm confused or scared or I've just stuffed up and I'm thinking to myself, "WHY is it so hard for me to remember that God can be trusted? WHY do I want to avoid him when things aren't going the way I'd hoped? WHY is prayer so often a last resort for me?"... at times like those, I remember:

"Beware the yeast of the Pharisees"... (head scratching)... "Is he saying we should swing by Bakers' Delight on our way home?"

Bless their stupidity... it means there's hope for me!

Hippomanic Jen said...

Yeah, I need to remember all that more often - particularly when I'm on a team preparing for Christ the King Sunday services in a fortnight's time.

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