Sunday School Material 2-6-11: Jesus is the Messiah

(Mark 8:27-9:1; 2/6/11)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus is the Messiah to be obeyed. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live like we believe that Jesus is the messiah.

Body:
Read Mark 8:27-30
I. Christ Revealed.
Jesus and His disciples are visiting the near by towns. Jesus asks His disciples about what people were saying about Him. He then asked them, what were they saying to the people about Him? When Peter declared that He was the Christ, Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone.

Applications –
- The Leader and helpers.
Notice in vss. 27-30 of the Sunday School material between the Leader (i.e., Jesus) and His helpers. First, the Leader expected His helpers to be His eyes and ears. This is implied by Jesus’ asking His disciples, "Who do the people say that I am"? In this regard, all leader helpers should be mindful of their duty to be the eyes and ears of the one they are to be assisting.

This is true for officers in the church who assist the Pastor, for wives who assist their husbands, and even for employees who assist their supervisor or manager. Second, the Leader expected His helpers to be spokes people for Him. They were to say what they were instructed to say, when it was time to say.

In like manner, those who assist a leader today should learn to say what the leader wants them to say, when the leader wants them to say it. If this is too difficult then the assistants may be better off resigning, instead of being a poor assistant or helper. Let’s work on being the disciples and helpers that God is calling us to be.

Read Mark 8:31-33
II. Christ Rejected.
Jesus taught His disciples that He would suffer at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, but rise in three days. Peter rebuked Jesus. Jesus rebuked Peter and suggested that the devil had him focused on the things of men, instead of the things of God.

Applications –
- Faith for the pain.
Notice in vs. 31 of the Sunday School material Jesus had to suffer some painful stuff, including death, at the hands of religious leaders. However, it was all a part of the plan. There can be no resurrection without death. In like manner, every believer is subject to face some difficult times.

It may be difficulties with finances, in relationships, with our health, or even in the church. However, if we keep the faith, we will discover that God is working all things out for the good of His people.

Let’s work on developing the faith needed to endure the pain on our journey. Prayerful study and obedience with the support of other believers will help with faith development.

- In God’s will, instead of in His way. Notice in vss. 32-33 Sunday School material Peter rebuked Jesus, and then he was rebuked by Jesus, as one who was thinking devilish thoughts, instead of godly thoughts. Especially, if we have some kind of status, seniority, or some extra expectations assigned to us, we must guard against allowing the devil to use us.

There is a way that seems right to us, but the ends thereof are the ways of death. Peter may have thought he was right, but he was wrong and being used by the devil, and he was rebuked by Jesus, which is far from a good thing. Just because something seems right to us doesn’t make it right.

If we are not careful, the devil can use our affection for traditions and have us standing in the way of God’s will. Let’s make sure we stay in God’s will, instead of in His way. The best way to live out this application is to prayerfully study and obey God’s will.

It is God’s will that if the leader is not leading you contrary to God’s will that you need to share advice discreetly (if appropriate) and then trust God’s will to be done. Don’t let the devil get you out of your lane – operating in a role that you are not assigned to operate in (e.g., Peter the disciple rebuking Jesus - the leader - is an example of Peter being out of his lane).

Read Mark 8:34-37
III. Christ Received.
Jesus calls a larger crowd of students together with His disciples. He teaches them that discipleship - following Him - calls for deciding to deny and dedicate one’s self to following Jesus. He mentions the blessings of following Him and the vanity of not following Him.

Applications –
- The cost of discipleship.
Notice in vss. 34-37 of the Sunday School material being a disciple of Jesus will cost you. But it will not cost as much as not being a disciple. To follow Jesus, one must deny one’s self and be dedicated to following divine directions. This means that we will have to say “no” to our self centered desires and focus on doing God’s will.

However, if we gain the whole world and lose our soul, we are losers in the long run. The key to understanding the reasonableness of discipleship is an after life perspective. If one thinks that death of the body is the end of all things then discipleship may not be an obvious selection.

However, for those of us who believe that when a believer is absent from the body he/she is present with the Lord then discipleship gains great value.

Let’s live like we believe that serving the Lord now will pay eternal dividends. Such living should be known for loving God, ourselves, and others.

Read Mark 8:38-9:1
IV. Christ Returning.
In this last section of the Sunday School material, Jesus talks about how those who are ashamed of Him in this world will suffer His being ashamed on them in the world to come. Jesus suggests that He is coming back in His Father’s glory with holy angels.

He goes on to say that some of those He was talking to would not taste death, until they saw the kingdom of God come with power. The idea of seeing the kingdom of God is thought by some to be a reference to the mountain of transfiguration, the resurrection, or the out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

Applications –
- Not ashamed.
Notice in vs. 38 of the Sunday School material cost of being ashamed of the Lord, in this adulterous world. Similar to the above application related to the cost of discipleship, there is a cost attached to being ashamed of Jesus. When we behave as if we are ashamed of Jesus then we will suffer His being ashamed of us and not owning us, when He returns.

For the unsaved, this means going to Hell. For the saved, this means a lost of rewards and having wood, instead of gold at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The tragedy of Jesus being ashamed of us, when He returns, is that we will have no time to repent and improve our behavior. Let’s work on living for Jesus, now, so that He will bless us, in the future.

Conclusion: Based on this Sunday School material, let’s live like we believe that Jesus is the messiah. God has much for those who obey His will.

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