Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to 8:27—9:13. This portion of the Gospel of Mark may be considered the highlight of the Lord’s contact with His disciples.
In order for the disciples to be brought to the point described in 8:27—9:13, it was necessary for them to pass through a number of steps. We may take Peter as an example. In chapter one of the Gospel of Mark, Peter was called by the Lord and began to follow Him. From chapter one to chapter eight, Peter and the other faithful followers passed through a number of different steps. They went on step by step, higher and higher, until they were brought to a place called Caesarea Philippi.
Mark 8:27 says, “And Jesus went out and His disciples into the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, Who do men say that I am?” Caesarea Philippi was in the northern part of the Holy Land, close to the border, at the foot of Mount Hermon, the mountain on which the Lord was transfigured. Caesarea Philippi was far from the holy city with the holy temple, where the atmosphere of the old Jewish religion filled every man’s thought, leaving no room for Christ, the Slave-Savior. The Lord brought His disciples purposely to such a place where there was a clear atmosphere so that their thought could be released from the effects of the religious surroundings in the holy city and the holy temple and that He might reveal to them something new concerning Himself. It was here that the vision concerning Him as the Christ was given to Peter.
I wish to emphasize the fact that the Lord Jesus brought His disciples to Caesarea Philippi so that they would be in a clear atmosphere, an atmosphere without clouds or fog. He knew that in such an atmosphere their understanding and spiritual sight would be clear.
The Lord brought His followers from the river Jordan and the Sea of Galilee to Caesarea Philippi. It took Him at least two years to bring His followers through all the steps that enabled them to come to this point. These steps are recorded in the preceding chapters of the Gospel of Mark. Especially three of the Lord’s disciples—Peter, John, and James—were fully qualified to see something which no other human beings had been able to see. They were able to see a wonderful Person, a Person who is the secret of the universe and a mystery to all mankind. This One is also the secret of God’s eternal economy. Although He was a man, even a man in the form of a slave, He was an excellent, wonderful, mysterious Person.
In order to see the vision concerning this Person, the disciples had to pass through the steps recorded in the preceding chapters. They had to be healed in a general way and then in a particular way. Every function of their being— hearing, sight, and speech—needed to be healed. As the result of experiencing both the general and specific healings, they were qualified and enabled to receive the vision concerning who the Lord is.
In verse 27 the Lord asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” As a man, Christ was a mystery not only to that generation, but also to people today. To the Lord’s question the disciples replied, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but others, one of the prophets” (v. 28). This indicates that, at most, without revelation, people can realize only that Jesus is the greatest among the prophets. Without heavenly revelation, no one can know that He is truly the Christ.
Verse 29 says, “And He questioned them, But you, who do you say that I am? Peter answering says to Him, You are the Christ!” Here we see that Peter took the lead to declare that Jesus is the Christ. Peter did not speak of the Lord simply in a general way as Christ, as an anointed One. Rather, he said, “You are the Christ.” This term may not be as striking to us today as it was during the time of the disciples. Peter was declaring that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One, the Messiah.
When Peter made the declaration that Jesus is the Christ, he may not have been very clear concerning this point. Nevertheless, he saw that this One was not common, that He was not an ordinary person. He realized something that is very particular concerning the Lord, that He is the Christ, God’s anointed One, the Messiah. As we have pointed out, in order for Peter to see this vision, it was necessary for him and the other disciples to pass through all the steps in the preceding chapters to be brought to the stage of seeing the vision concerning Christ’s Person.
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