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On the right track (with room to grow)

February 20, 2023

Daily Scripture

Mark 8:27033

27 Jesus and his disciples went into the villages near Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
28 They told him, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others one of the prophets.”
29 He asked them, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” 30 Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
31 Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: “The Human One [or Son of Man] must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and the legal experts, and be killed, and then, after three days, rise from the dead.” 32 He said this plainly. But Peter took hold of Jesus and, scolding him, began to correct him. 33 Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, then sternly corrected Peter: “Get behind me, Satan. You are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

This is a pivotal point in Mark’s gospel narrative. “Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection for the first time in Mark. Just as his suffering is inseparable from his role as the Christ (see Mark 1:1), so his followers’ lives, too, will be defined by self-sacrifice.” * Those who followed Jesus began to discover and more fully define who they were as they answered the question of who Jesus was (and is). Jesus’ question, and our answer, is still central to our spiritual identity.

  • Jesus is still asking, “Who do you say that I am?” What is your answer? Is your answer more like Peter’s in verse 29 or like Peter’s behavior in verse 32? What are your reasons for answering as you do? What reason would there be to take on a “Jesus” identity (that’s what calling yourself a “Christian” means) unless you have decided that Jesus is the ruler of your life?
  • At this point in his journey, Peter at first gave the “right” answer to Jesus’ question, but didn’t fully understand what it meant (verses 32-33). He still had plenty of room left to grow. How has your answer to Jesus’ question changed your life? Where do you sense God urging you to grow further in your attitudes and actions? How might you open yourself to let God further that growth during the upcoming Lenten season?

Lord Jesus, sometimes I trust you and want to follow you. But other times I shrink from the possible cost of doing that. Continue to lead me to a deeper commitment to you as God’s anointed one (the Christ). Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Valerie Vogt

Valerie Vogt

Valerie Nagel Vogt was born, raised, and attended college in California. Her Master of Divinity degree is from Duke Divinity School. She was ordained in the Rio Texas Conference where she served as an associate pastor in the Austin area and San Antonio. From congregational care and welcoming guests to leading in worship, Valerie loves the ministry of the local church. She feels blessed to have served as a pastor since 2011. She juggles ministry with being a mom to Caleb (born 2012) and Jacob (born 2015), friend, avid reader, lover of the outdoors, beginner to the world of CrossFit, and foodie.

“And what about you? Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) Who do I believe Jesus is? That question is central to our faith. The answer affects everything in our lives. While we look to pastors, teachers, small group leaders, and historic followers of Jesus, like John and Charles Wesley, to learn more about our faith and understand what it means to follow Jesus, ultimately we must each answer this question for ourselves. Who do I say that Jesus is?

I remember sitting down at my desk after I had unpacked my college dorm room and my parents had said their final goodbyes. I had my Bible out and could hear noise in the hallway through the closed door. My roommate was out of the room, and I was all alone. I looked at my Bible and thought about the church where I had grown up. I thought about what my parents believed and how they lived out their faith. I thought about the privilege I had in that moment to choose what I believed and how I wanted to live my life. Did I want to follow Jesus? Did I want to follow not because I had been baptized in and grown up in church, not because I had been confirmed, not because I loved my youth group leaders, and not because my parents were Christians, but because I believed Jesus is the Christ? The question that was heavy on my heart was what did I believe and how was that going to impact my life.

Pastor Adam has shared that each morning when he wakes up he opens his hands and heart and prays for God to use him. We can pray something like, “Here I am God, use me” each morning because each day is a new opportunity to turn towards God in faith and proclaim that we want to follow Jesus. And each time we, like Peter, don’t fully understand what it means to follow Jesus or we mess up and make a mistake, we can return to God, ask forgiveness, and ask for God’s Spirit to guide us.

Please join me in praying: God, sometimes I proclaim that Jesus is the Christ and I believe it. Sometimes I proclaim faith in Jesus, and I have no idea what that will cost me and how it will change my life. It is our prayer that each day we might live and love like Jesus, using the gifts you have given us to care for others. Help me when it’s hard to follow you. Help me to turn towards you when I fall short of your best. Thank you that your forgiveness brings healing. We want to experience your love and share it with others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Suzanne Watts Henderson, study note on Mark 8:27-9:1 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 84 NT.