The Redemptive Mission of the Suffering Servant Introduced — Mark 8:31-33

As soon as the disciples of Jesus come to grips with Who He really is (confession of Peter), Jesus immediately transitions to explaining very clearly to them His intended Mission.  Close connection between these 2 halves of Mark’s Gospel – Luke does not even begin a new sentence here (9:22).

Parunak: three predictions of his passion (all given in private to His disciples): 8:31; 9:31; 10:32-34. Now that they recognize him as Messiah, they are ready to learn a new side to his work.

John Grassmick: The structure of this section (8:31 – 10:52) revolves around three Passion predictions: 8:31-9:29; 9:30-10:31; 10:32-52.   Each unit includes a prediction (8:31; 9:30-31; 10:32-34); a reaction by the disciples (8:32-33; 9:32; 10:35-41); and one or more lessons in discipleship (8:34-9:29; 9:33-10:31; 10:42-52).

Alan Carr: For centuries, the Jews had looked for God to send a Deliverer. They anticipated a great military leader who would defeat Israel’s enemies, restore righteousness to the land, and who would purify and restore Temple worship to its ancient glory, Jer. 33:15; Eze. 37:23-24. The Jews believed that this deliverer would achieve his goals through the force of arms. They were looking for a fighter, a revolutionary and an insurrectionist.

Who is Jesus and Why did He come to this earth – if you understand the answer to those 2 questions you have true spiritual insight.

THE REDEMPTIVE MISSION OF JESUS CHRIST CAN ONLY BE EMBRACED BY RELINQUISHING HUMAN AUTONOMY AND SUBMITTING TO DIVINE LORDSHIP [WHICH INCLUDES REJECTION AND SUFFERING]

I.  (:31-32a) CLEAR TEACHING REGARDING THE FOUR KEY COMPONENTS OF THE REDEMPTIVE MISSION OF THE SUFFERING SERVANT

(:31a)  Strategic Turning Point — Transition to the New Focus:

And He began to teach them”  Mark 4:1; 6:34

Talking to His disciples here – in vs. 34, He begins talking to the crowd as well as His disciples

We must sit at the feet of the Master Teacher and allow Him to authoritatively explain the mind of God and the divine purposes and decrees; we must be in the role of submissive learners.

This is a clear Master-Disciple relationship – not one of equals

A.  Shocking Reversal of Expectations –  Suffering of the Messiah – The Son of Man

“that the Son of Man must suffer many things”  Luke 17:25

Introduction of this key identification of Jesus as The Son of Man

James Edwards:Son of Man” occurs fourteen times in Mark, and only from the mouth of Jesus.

3 categories:

1) apocalyptic contexts — Dan. 7:13-14 – coming in judgment

2) twice it refers to Jesus’ earthly authority to forgive sins (2:10) and supersede the Sabbath (2:28)

3) most predominant usage is with regard to the suffering of Jesus (8:31; 9:9, 12, 31; 10:33, 45; 14:21 [twice], 41)

Fulfilling God ordained role and purpose

Free of political connotations

Wessel: The combining of the motif of eschatological glory with that of suffering and death is what characterizes the Son-of-Man idea in Mark’s Gospel as elsewhere in the Synoptics.

Why not: “Suffer ONE thing” = Death on the cross??

MacArthur: What do You mean many things? Betrayal, arrest, denial, abandonment, injustice, prison, mockery, beating, crucifixion, disaffection from His disciples, etc., etc.

Humbled Himself in laying aside the visible manifestation of His glory and taking on the limitations of human flesh

must” — Such suffering is unavoidable from the divine perspective; unalterable;

Sproul: He saw these events not as mere possibilities in the future but as certainties, things that simply had to occur if He was to fulfill His vocation.  Why did Jesus use this language of necessity?  He spoke in these terms because, from the foundation of the world, the Father had determined that the Son would suffer, be rejected, and ultimately be killed to redeem His people form God’s righteous wrath against their sin.

suffering” of Christ – used of His death in Acts:

Acts 1:3 To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Acts 3:18But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

Acts 17:3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”

B.  Shameful Rejection of the Messiah by the Religious Leaders

and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes,

should have been embraced by the religious leaders

Hiebert:  “be rejected” – subjected to an official examination and, like a spurious coin, be disapproved . . . did not meet their standards for the Messiah

MacArthur: And the strange, bizarre aspect of it is that it’s not going to be by pagans and it’s not going to be by self-confessed, wicked, godless men, but all of this is going to come by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes.  The Sanhedrin conducted all of that. They were the ones responsible for His betrayal. They bought Judas for His arrest. They were the ones who brought about the mock trials. They were the ones who handed Him over to the Romans for all the physical abuse. They were the ruling counsel of Judaism. They were the elite, 70 men, they were made up of elders, judges, tribal heads, chief priests…those would be the temple system priests, the Sadducees, the religious liberals, and then there were the scribes who would be the Pharisees. So it was a coalition government made up of Pharisees, Sadducees who were enemies theologically, and other important leaders in the community and judges and they constituted this coalition, religious governing body over Israel and it was they who would be responsible for the killing of the Messiah.

Alan Carr: This council was made up “elders”, these were influential lay leaders [ men of wealth and were the leaders of aristocratic families – Constable]. The “chief priests” refers to the High Priest, any former high priests, and the leaders of the 24 courses of priests within the tribe of Levi. Most of these men were Sadducees. They were the theological liberals of the day. The word “scribes” refers to the Pharisees who were on this council. The Pharisees were the religious conservatives. They were responsible for knowing, preserving and protecting the Law of God.

James Edwards: The chief priests included the current high priest of the Sanhedrin and his predecessors, as well as their family members.  The chief priests all belonged to the sect of the Sadducees, and in Jesus’ day they included Caiaphas, who ruled form A.D. 18 to 36; his father-in-law Annas, who ruled from A.D. 6 to 15; and Caiaphas’s successor Jonathan and his brother Theophilus.

The Heart of the Gospel Message – next 2 points:

C.  Sacrificial Reality of the Slaughter of the Lamb of God — Crucifixion of the Messiah

and be killed,

violent death at the hands of sinful men

yet a death that He submitted to willingly

D.  Supernatural Resurrection of the Messiah as the Supreme Vindication

and after three days rise again.

Picture of Jonah in the belly of the great fish

Hiebert: The evidence of the Septuagint and later Greek writers shows that after three days and “on the third day” (Mt and Luke) could be used with identical meaning

  • Vindication of the Claims of Jesus regarding His Identity
  • Vindication of the Father’s acceptance of the propitiatory work of the Son
  • Vindication of the Coming Judgment against the enemies of the Kingdom of God

(:32a)  Straightforward Presentation — Clarity of the Teaching:

 “And He was stating the matter plainly.

outspokenness, frankness, plainness of speech  — plain, direct speech – comes from sense of freedom; no inhibitions (Paul uses it more in terms of boldness and confidence)

Up to this point, He had taught them many things in parables and in ways that were purposely difficult to understand; here he speaks opening and plainly and clearly – and yet still His words are not understood because they must be spiritually discerned

James Edwards:plainly” —  in John’s Gospel often refers to Jesus’ bold disclosure of his purpose (7:26; 10:24; 11:14; 16:25, 29; 18:20), appears only here in the Synoptic Gospels and, ironically, only in connection with impending suffering.  The explanation [of Jesus as Messiah] results in bewilderment and dismay, not only because of its implications for Messiahship but equally because of its implications for discipleship.

Lenski: More than two years before this time, behind the temptation after the forty days of fasting, Jesus saw the shadow of the cross.  When he cleansed the Temple the first time he spoke of the temple of his body which the Jews would destroy, and he would raise up.  To Nicodemus he said: “The Son of man must be lifted up.”  But the time had now come for plainer language.

II.  (:32b-33) CONFRONTATIONAL EXCHANGE REGARDING THE NATURE OF THE REDEMPTIVE MISSION OF THE SUFFERING SERVANT

A.  (:32b) Peter Rebukes the Lord

And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.

Here we have Peter attempting to straighten the Lord out regarding His theology

[Peter a key source for Mark’s gospel account]

Parunak: Like a political handler working a presidential candidate. ”

Alan Carr:   Do you know why people hate the message of the cross? It is because the cross spells the end of human self-sufficiency! If we believe that we can only be saved by receiving Jesus and trusting His death and resurrection, we are declaring our own helplessness before God.

B.  (:33) The Lord Rebukes Peter

  1. Addressing All the Disciples – Peter = Spokesperson

But turning around and seeing His disciples,

Key teaching moment – all eyes were on this confrontation

  1. Targeting the Ultimate Antagonist

He rebuked Peter, and said, “’Get behind Me, Satan;’

no patience or gracious words here; deals with the situation decisively – with authority and firmness

MacArthur: Peter didn’t want a cross. These guys were looking for glory. Do we remember that Peter . . . James and John had come with their mother to ask if they could sit on the right and the left in the Kingdom? I mean, it was all about elevation, glory, power, prosperity. Jesus says, “You are an offense to Me,” according to Matthew. “You’re a skandalon. Skandalon means you’re a trap, you’re a baited trap. You’re a Satan trap. You’re a Satan stumbling block. If you’re trying to dissuade Me from the cross, you’re on Satan’s side. Get out of My sight.”

James Edwards: According to Matt. 4:10, Jesus rebuked Satan in the wilderness in the same words with which he rebukes Peter here.

Sproul: Luke tells us that Satan “departed from Him until an opportune time.”  There is an element of foreboding there, the hint that Satan was not finished with his temptation, but a day would come when he would return and try to seduce Jesus with the same cheap way to glory.  Who could have foreseen that the “opportune time” would follow right on the heels of the highest confession of faith among the disciples?  Who could have foreseen that Satan would come and speak through the spokesman of the disciples, the man who had said, “You are the Christ”?  But Jesus recognized the work of Satan right away.

  1. Identifying the Key Point of Distinction

for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts

Parunak: “to think, to set the mind.” Same word used in Rom. 8:5 (“for those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh”) or Col 3:2 (“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”).  We need to cultivate God’s mind on things, else we will become tools of Satan as Peter does here.

Hiebert: Mindset denotes what dominated and swayed Peter’s thoughts.  He was motivated, not by the things of God, things related to God’s purposes, but the things of men, the concerns of fallible human beings.

– whenever we put human reasoning, logic, emotions, desires before God’s word, our minds are set on the things of men

CONCLUSION:

A wrong view of Messiahship leads to a wrong view of discipleship – as we will see in the next verses which are tied to our same theme.

1 Cor. 1:18-25