Who do you say I am?

This sermon can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year B  24th Sunday in Ordinary Time,


Psalm                          Psalm 19                                                        

First Reading:                         Prov 1:20-33               

Second Reading:                    James 3:1-12               

Gospel:                                    Mark 8:27-38     


What I want to say:

I want to use the questions Jesus used with the disciples to explore our response, and what that might reveal about who God is for us and what it means to be followers or disciples of this God

What I want to happen:

I want people to explore their own responses to the questions and what that reveals about their image of God and what it means to be a follower

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

Poor old Peter.

One minute he is top of the class

-         somehow he has guessed it

-         Jesus is the Christ, the messiah

and he doesn’t get a gold star or a congratulations

at least not in Mark (its different in Matthew, but that is another sermon)

in Mark he is rebuked

-         word translated as sternly ordered is more usually translated “rebuked”

translators have felt like Peter was right so rebuked no fit

begs question

in Mark, was Peter right?


They are a great group of questions aren’t they.

shall we see how we would answer them and if we would fare any better.

       2.     Who do people say Jesus is?

discuss in small groups

then offer some thoughts around the names offered in Mark

-         these are not just random names of cool people

-         these come with certain hopes and expectations

-         and certain assumptions about the nature of God

-         they are code for particular understandings of what is happening and where God is in all this.

-         e.g. Elijah – one only 2 people to not die in First Testament

o   Malachi 4 -  “5 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.[b].”

-         What expectations and hopes go with these?

-         What pictures of God go with these?

รจ plenary

        3.     Who do we say Jesus is?

discuss in small groups

brief plenary

then offer some thoughts around the Peter’s answer in Mark

-         This is where Peter gets into trouble

-         he doesn’t get it

o   his use of term Messiah again came with whole load of hopes and expectations that were rife at the time

o   end Roman rule

o   end corrupt temple leadership

§  as it says in Malachi 4 “when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble”

§  Peter was hoping to be one of those who “revere God’s- on them the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall

o   none of which Jesus had offered any hint that he was in business of doing

§  one commentaries suggested you can hear John and James sniggering in background – Peter you fool

-         clearly not what Jesus is offering

-         clue is story just before this

o   healing of blind man who says on first time “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.”

-         so they are rebuked to say nothing – because it is wrong

So discuss

-         What expectations and hopes go with our names?

-         What pictures of God go with these?



How do our images compare with Peters and with what Jesus then offers?

Jesus offers an alternative vision

-         way of powerlessness, vulnerability, death

-         way of letting go of some their deepest hopes and desires

-         way of generosity, compassion, love

Peters problem with this is that

-         this does not match his hope of being among the rulers living the life

-         he is a follower

o   that means following where ever Jesus is going

o   and he does not like the sound of where Jesus is going

o   nor should we

o   so question for us is

o   what does it mean for us to be followers of this Jesus today?


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