Prayer Series: Peter’s Confession of Christ

Prayer Series: Peter’s Confession of Christ June 10, 2019

Belief without relationship is only head knowledge. That’s one of the major points of this story. Relationship without belief has no anchor.

We continue our prayer series with this prayer from this week.[1] One of the things that’s unique about this prayer is that I get to prepare our hearts for communion.  I’m preaching from Mark 8, Peter’s confession of Christ, so these are some closing thoughts.

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Peter’s Confession of Christ

Peter, the spokesman for The Twelve, reveals Christ’s identity

It’s all about the identity of Christ.  It’s all about our relationship with Christ.  So I want to share three identity points.

i. The first identity point is that: “The question concerned who He is, not what He does” (see Jesus’ question in Mark 8.29).[2]

A lot of the crowd to this point in Mark is following Jesus because of what He does.  They’re chasing His miracles.  They’re chasing the gift instead of the Giver.

Are we following Him because of who He is?

ii. The second identity point: Peter’s answer is not about Christ.  Peter is answering to Christ.

That’s quite different.  Peter answers to Him.  It is a confessional statement.  Peter is confessing Christ to Christ in relationship.[3] That is the language of confessional statements, that we confess to Christ.

We can talk all day about what we know about God, but like Peter and The Twelve are we caught up in confessional language talking directly to Him?

The nature of confession is different.  Great doctrines of the church for 400 years were forged as confessions, not as bullet-point doctrines.

iii. I’m going to close with a third crucial point about Jesus’ identity

Peter and The Twelve believe in the Messiah, and they are in relationship with Jesus.  Now the way Mark is painting this picture, those are two separate things up to this point.  They believe in the Messiah who is to come because of their Hebrew Scriptures, and they are in relationship with Jesus.

Their knowledge of the Messiah (what they know about what He would be) and their relationship with Jesus . . . both together helps them to connect the dots.  Because they have both, they recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

Let’s remix that thought just a little bit for us, in terms of Christian living principles.

Belief without relationship is only head knowledge. That’s one of the major points of this story. Relationship without belief has no anchor.

You cannot have one without the other.  If you don’t have the nature of true confession (doctrines, belief in Christ, knowledge of who He is) and you just have a relationship, it’s just an ooey, gooey, fuzzy relationship.  It’s just like God is some kind of cosmic muffin up there in the sky that’s keeping you warm, and that’s all you’ve got.  You have no moorings.  You’ve got to have both.

Let’s Remix it one more time in the positive:

To Believe Jesus is the Messiah is inferior to Knowing Him . . . But because the Apostles Believe, they are able to Know Him.[4]

Benediction:

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ, whom we are going to celebrate in a couple moments here at the table.  We are thankful for your Gospel writers who so vividly portray our relationship with Him, and the importance of knowing about Him.  No doubt the Apostles knew the messages of every prophet that they listed in this passage, and knew that the messages and writings of the prophets forecasted this great Messiah to come.

But Lord, they find themselves chasing You, and You allow yourself to be caught.  We can chase You our whole life, but You must turn around and bridge the gap between us and God.  I pray Jesus that in some way You would do that today for all of us.  It can be burdens that we are bearing.  It could certainly be loved ones that we are praying about, who need to come to a realization of the truth.  You’re the Truth.  It could be some need that we have.  Whatever the case may be, I pray that you meet us today.

Allow us to feel the peace of Your embrace, and perhaps even the depth of Your probing questions, at this point in our lives.

We ask You Jesus that as we get ready to approach the table, that our hearts would be prepared.  We ask that Your Holy Spirit would quicken our minds to receive what these symbols stand for, a greater awareness of Your Cross.  Amen


notes:

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[1] The Prayer Series.  I’m sharing a series on prayer.  These are specific vlogs from prayers within a congregational setting.  This post is adapted from: Rev. Jared V. Ingle, “You are the Christ,” Long Lake Community Church, Traverse City, MI.

Prayer Series, Vernell Ingle: Blessing on this House

Prayer Series: Continue to Transform Us

[2] Vernon D. Doerksen, “Verse-By-Verse Commentary 7:3-11:33,” in Mark, vol. 3 in The New Testament Study Bible, ed. Ralph W. Harris, Stanley M. Horton, and Gayle Garrity Seaver (Springfield, MO: The Complete Biblical Library, 1988), 225.

[3] Paraphrased from Origen, as quoted by Thomas C. Oden, Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1992), 214.

[4] Origen, Commentary on Matthew.xii.xv (ANF-O9 in CCEL.org).

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