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After having this conversation with his disciple, Jesus asked them, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Then Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” (8:29), which is the theme of today’s message. I think this is an amazing proclamation of faith because Christ means Messiah, this means a savior. At that time, the Jewish people believed that when Messiah comes, he would set them free from Roman rule. They believed that almighty God, Messiah comes to set people free from any chains. They had been waiting for Messiah with this hope. Therefore, for the Jewish people, it was such a surprising proclamation of faith. However, Christ then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31) He taught them a meaning of the death and sufferings of Messiah on the cross on behalf of them, that set people free from sin.
Jesus gave them a challenge, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Taking up our own cross means living with the sufferings and challenges of believing in Christ. After witnessing Christ’s cross and resurrection, the disciples made a decision to literally take up their cross and follow Him.
How about you? Are you ready to take up your cross and follow Jesus with sufferings and challenges as a believer of Christ? Jesus said “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:35)
In Matthew 16:16 includes the same contents. However, Matthew added “for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,” (Matthew 16:17-18 ) It is Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit who lead us to proclaim that Jesus is Messiah. On this proclamation of faith, the church, the body of Christ is built. We are witnessing now that the church is built on this same faith, and it is by the work of the Holy Spirit. As a church, we want to remind us and give thanks to God that we are also built on this confession of faith.