Jesus is the Christ... So?

The confession of Peter to in Mark 8:29 is a little more abbreviated than in the more familiar and longer reading in Matthew (16:13-20). Mark has Peter answer, "You are the Christ” while Matthew adds “the Son of the Living God.” Luke has it “the Christ of God.” (Lk 9:20). In all three gospels, this confession is a huge turning point in the ministry of Jesus . From this point on, everything points to the cross. For example, in Luke Jesus discusses with Moses and Elijah what would find its fulfillment in Jerusalem (Lk 9:31) and then resolutely sets out (“set his face,” ESV) for Jerusalem (Lk 9:51). Everything else in the story points toward the appointment at the cross

All three of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) include something that surprises us (well, it surprises me) in the confession of Christ. Peter finally understands who Jesus is and confesses it aloud… and then (drum roll please), “Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.” What? The disciples finally get it and they aren't supposed to tell anyone? Why? Because although they know Jesus is Christ, they don’t know what it means for Jesus to be Christ! That is obvious because the VERY NEXT THING out of Peter’s mouth after “You are the Christ” is to rebuke Jesus for suggesting that business about the coming cross (Mark 16:32). Maybe that is why Jesus talks with Moses and Elijah about his coming ordeal; the disciples would let him talk about it!

The apostles thought Jesus as Messiah meant that they would rule with him from Jerusalem after driving the Roman occupation forces back into the Mediterranean. What it meant for Jesus to be Messiah was that “must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). What did Jesus being Christ mean for the apostles? It wasn’t what they expected—

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Would “Jesus is Lord” mean prosperity and power for the apostles? No, it meant suffering just as it did for Jesus. They didn’t understand what it meant for Jesus to be Christ… so Jesus instructed them to not tell anyone He was the Christ until they understood it themselves!

So... what does it mean for us that Jesus is Christ? It doesn’t mean that we will be “healthy, wealthy and wise.” It doesn’t mean that we’ll have all our dreams fulfilled and be successful and prosperous in all that we do.” That is evidently what many people think. Many ask, “Wouldn't God want his beloved children to prosper and have the very best of everything?” Well, that’s not what he wanted for His only begotten Son. That’s not what he promises here for those who will follow His Son. In fact, there is the allusion to the fact that some will be called to give up their lives for Jesus and the gospel.

Some don’t understand what it meant for Jesus to be Christ. And so they don’t understand what means to follow the Christ.