8:27-9:13 – ‘Who do you say that I am ?’: Jesus puts this question to all of us. Some believe He is the Christ. Others do not. Some try to ‘sit on the fence’. Everyone makes their response to Him. God is not deceived by outward observance of religion, when it masks an inward refusal to receive Christ as Saviour, to submit to Him as Lord. On the day of judgment, God will not be looking for respectability. He will be looking for faith (Luke 18:8). Peter confessed Christ (29). Then, he was overcome by Satan (33). He became ‘puffed up’ with pride (1 Corinthians 8:1). He forgot that faith comes from divine revelation (Matthew 16:17). We are not ‘to rebuke’ the Lord (32). Looking to ‘Jesus only’ (8; Romans 4:5), we are to live as His disciples (34) – not of this world, as He is not of this world (John 17:14,16; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
9:14-50 – ‘Our God is able’ (Daniel 3:17). Do we believe this? There is no doubt about God’s power. What about our faith? We come to Jesus, saying, ‘If you can’. Jesus turns things around: ‘If you can! All things are possible to him who believes’ (22-23). This is not so much an appeal for positive thinking. It is a call to prayer (29). Less self-confidence and more confidence in God – This is what we need. God’s greatness is more important than our ‘greatness’ (33-35). Are there things that you don’t understand? Don’t be afraid to ask (32). You may even learn from those who ‘don’t belong to our group’ (38-40). They don’t belong to our group? So what? Do they belong to Christ? That’s what matters. ‘It is better’ (43,45,47) to be Christ’s – than anything else! May our faith, though ‘tested by fire’, grow strong – to God’s glory (49-50; 1 Peter 1: 6-7).