The One True Christ (Mark 8:27-33)

The One True Christ (Mark 8:27-33)


I.) The One True Christ

It is no exaggeration to say that Christ’s question here is the single most important question we will ever have to answer in this life. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life depend not only upon on our answering it correctly, but on our complete trust in the truth it entails. Meaning those who get this answer wrong, or reject its truth, will not be forgiven of their sins, and will experience eternal death under the wrath of God.[1]

A Holy and righteous God will always deal with sin justly, which is humanities greatest dilemma. All are sinners by nature and choice, and have fallen short of His glory, which means we deserve His wrath.[2]

Understand the gospel message begins and ends with the One true, good, and Holy God. The good news concerns itself with how a Holy and righteous God can righteously save unrighteous humanity, while satisfying the justice they deserve. The gospel worries itself with how God takes those who are: separated from Him, His enemies, deserving of His wrath, destined for destruction, and: Reconciles them back to Himself, Brings peace with Him, Saves them from His Wrath, Destines them for eternal life. He does this in the One true Christ![3]


II.) The Only Christ That Saves

I have intentionally used the term “The One true Christ”, because not everyone who talks of Jesus today is actually teaching the Christ of Scripture. Though they may use the term Christ, their teachings describe a completely different one; especially in regards to His atoning work. This is an issue, because if the true Christ is not being taught; neither is the message that: Provides reconciliation back to God, Brings peace between God and man, Saves people from His wrath, Gives individuals hope of eternal life.

Yes, our understanding of Jesus matters, because what you know of The Christ will inevitably be what you teach about Him.

The question that naturally arises is:

Q.) Do you know and teach the One true Christ?

If we are wrong on the Christ rest assured we will be teaching a different gospel.

There are many different Jesus’ being taught today around the world, but only One saves. The One Who saves is the:

a.) Virgin Born

b.) Cross Bearing

c.) Blood Shedding

d.) Sin Atoning

e.) Wrath Propitiating

f.) Justice Satisfying

g.) Righteousness Imputing

h.) Spotless Lamb of God

God the Son, infinite and eternal, Who humbly emptied Himself by becoming a Man obedient to the Father unto death.[4] A death that required Him to take our sin, shed His blood, and bear God’s wrath to purchase our redemption. So those who believe in Him may be given His righteousness, and eternally saved from God Himself.


III.) The Christ and His Cross

I hope something is becoming glaringly obvious, and that is it matters very little for someone to simply say they believe in Jesus Christ. We should be reminded that there will be a day when professing Christians are thrust from the presence of the One true Christ and into hell. This will occur after they hear Him say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”[5] He reveals it is not our professing to know Him that matters, but if He knows us.

When someone tells us that they believe in Jesus we should desire to have one question answered:

Q.) What do they believe about the Christ, His glorious cross, and the work He finished upon it?

Their answer to this question will indicate whether or not Christ Jesus truly knows them.

It is within the same vein of thought J.C. Ryle says:

“This is no mere question of controversy; this is not one of those points on which men may agree to differ, and feel that differences will not shut them out of heaven. A man must be right on this subject, or he is lost forever. Heaven or hell, happiness or misery, life or death, blessing or cursing in the last day – all hinges on the answer to this question: ‘What do you think about the cross of Christ?’”[6]

 As we look at this portion of Scripture we see the disciples are being asked similar questions dealing with people’s understanding of the identity of Christ:

1.) Who do people say that I am?

2.) Who do you say that I am?

Now these questions are not tapping into subjective reasoning, but measuring whether or not people believe the objective truth of the Christ. Human opinion does not dictate who Jesus is! He does not conform to what we think and say of Him, rather our understanding is to conform to what He says of Himself.


IV.) The Revealed Christ

At this point in Mark, Jesus has been walking with His disciples for roughly two years, and will now be gearing up to go into Jerusalem. They have heard His claims and witnessed His works, and Jesus questions them on theirs, and others, understanding of Him:

Mark 8:27-29a

Here we see a comparison between the peoples understanding of Jesus, and the disciples, which gives us a brief window of application: Those Who draw close and abide in the word of Christ will have a right understanding. Those Who do not, will not!

You will notice the peoples understanding was not based on anything Jesus had said about Himself, which inevitably led to a bad Christology. Jesus did not claim to be:

a.) John the Baptist

b.) Elijah

c.) One of the prophets

Again, it does not matter who you subjectively think and say who Jesus is. If He did not reveal it about Himself in His Word it is not true.

Q.) Who did He reveal Himself to be?

A.) The Christ, The Messiah, The Anointed One!

He revealed Himself to be the long awaited Messiah Israel had been looking for. The One whom God would send that would save His people and establish His kingdom forever!


V.) Incomplete View of Christ 

I want us to consider a text about the Messiah’s kingdom that the disciples surely would have known. It most likely aided Peter’s confession.

Isaiah 35:1-6

Three things should stand out to us here about the reign of the Messiah:

1.) The eyes of the blind will be opened.

2.) The ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

3.) The tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.

All of these just happened in the previous context:

1.) Jesus heals the deaf and dumb man, and the crowd acknowledging that says, “He makes even the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.”[7] With this statement Mark makes a connection with the work of Jesus and the prophecy of the Christ’s reign.

2.) Jesus then restores a blind man’s sight.

He now looks at His disciples and asks, “Who do you say that I am?”

Mark 8:29b

Matthew tells us Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”[8]

Jesus’ response:

Mark 8:30

Q.) Why would He say this?

A.) I believe there are a couple of reasons:

1.) All first century Jews believed the Christ was going to crush the Roman occupants and establish His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem.[9] For them to broadcast Him as Christ would be to throw fuel on the fire of the multitudes.

2.) Most importantly, for them to teach Him as the Christ with their current understanding of the Messiah would not be the gospel message. The people had a bad Christology, and the disciples had an incomplete one.

Look what He does:

Mark 8:31-32a

He corrects their understanding of the Christ.


VI.) Teach The Christ Revealed

The thought of the Christ, the Son of the Living God suffering and dying at the hands of wicked men, was so abhorrent to Peter that he rebuked Christ:

Mark 8:32b

Matthew adds more depth to his statement, “God forbid it Lord! This shall never happen to You.”

Mark 8:33

Q.) What was God’s interest?

A.) That the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.[10]

The greatest demonstration of love that has ever taken place was shown by God in the Christ, His Son! While we were yet sinners, God gave His Son, Who suffered and died under the full weight of our penalty! He willing drank the cup of wrath, for it was the only way to redeem a people for Himself.[11] The irrefutable fact of the Christ’s resurrection on the third day demonstrates His payment was accepted by God, and atoned from the sins of humanity. Through faith alone in the finished work of the Christ people who repent and believe the gospel will be forgiven of sins and given hope of eternal life.

If we desire to see people saved from sins penalty, power, and presence we must teach the Christ; crucified and risen again!


VI.) Examine The Christ You Teach

Examine the Christ you are teaching and ask, “The Christ that I teach…”:

1.) What does He save people from?

2.) How does He do it?

Q.) Does the Christ you teach:

1.) Save people from the wrath of God?

2.) Do this by rendering Himself as an offering for sin by taking it upon Himself and suffering under holy wrath so that God may be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus?[12]

If the Christ you teach does not do this you are teaching a different Christ, which means you are teaching a different gospel, which is incapable of saving people.

Humanities greatest dilemma is that they have fallen short of the glory of a wrathful God, and there is nothing we can do to appease it. The good news is that there is One who appeased that wrath towards us, and it is Christ Jesus, His Son.

Pragmatic thinking is ashamed of this truth and teaches you need to appeal to the lost through other means first, because this truth is offensive to the lost. Progressive thinking hates this truth and redefines it all together

Q.) Do you want to see the church grow?

Don’t be ashamed of the truth of Christ, and don’t redefine it! Teach it, for Jesus builds His church on a clear comprehension of the One true Christ!


[1] John 3:16-18,36; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

[2] Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-3

[3] John 21:31; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

[4] Philippians 2:5-7

[5] Matthew 7:21:23

[6] The Cross: A Call to the Fundamentals of Religion, J.C. Ryle

 

[7] Mark 7:37

[8] Matthew 16:16

[9] The Macarthur New Testament Commentary: Mark 1-8, John Macarthur; Page 415

[10] Luke 24:26,46

[11] Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42

[12] Romans 3:26

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