The Book of Mark
James J. Barker

Lesson 28

Text: MARK 8:27-33


1.    Tonight we will look at Peter’s confession of faith (Mark 8:29).

2.    There is a slight difference in the different Gospels.  Matthew records our Lord’s famous response to Peter’s confession, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18), but this verse is not found in the other Gospels.

3.    The RCC is wrong in their interpretation of Matthew 16:18. Peter certainly was no pope. In fact, there are no popes in the Bible. Peter was a simple Gospel preacher – not a priest, but an elder or pastor (cf. I Peter 5:1-4).

4.    Our Lord said, “and upon this rock I will build my church,” and Jesus is the Rock. First Corinthians 10:4 says, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”

5.    Peter himself said Christ is “a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word” (I Peter 2:8).



1.     The answer to that question reveals our understanding of God.  A person can be wrong about certain things and still make it to heaven, but if he is wrong about Jesus, he will die and go to hell.

2.     Unitarians say, “Jesus is the supreme teacher and leader of humankind, and salvation is to be achieved through conforming one’s life to his teaching.”

3.     Muslims believe that Jesus was a “Messenger of God,” but not the Son of God.

4.     Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was “Jehovah’s first creation,” and they also believe that Jesus Christ and Michael the archangel are the same person.

5.     Mormons believe Jesus is the “spirit brother of Satan.”

6.     All of these people are very religious, but they do not know who Jesus is.  Therefore they are lost.

7.     Our Lord’s disciples answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets” (Mark 8:28).

8.     That is an interesting answer.  Our Lord Himself said, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11).

9.     There were many people (including Herod – Mark 6:14) who thought that John the Baptist had risen from the dead.

10. Some thought our Lord was the resurrected John the Baptist; some thought He was Elijah or one of the other prophets (Mark 8:28).

11. Malachi 4:5 says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”

12. People thought our Lord was some great prophet with supernatural power.  But our Lord wanted to know, “But whom say ye that I am?” (8:29).

13. This question was put to the disciples in order for them to make a confession of faith – that they did believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the Son of God.



1.     Peter was the boldest and most outspoken of the disciples, so it is not surprising that he would speak out and declare, “Thou art the Christ” (8:29b).

2.     Mark does not mention our Lord’s commendation – “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).

3.     Mark does record our Lord’s instructions (Mark 8:30).  They were not to proclaim His deity at that time.  After His death and resurrection they would be given that commission (cf. Mark 16:15, 16).

4.     After telling them not to tell others what they had learned, our Lord told them about His impending death and resurrection (8:31).

5.     Prior to this He had made similar statements but they were not as clear (cf. John 2:19-21; Mark 2:19, 20).

6.     But now as the time of His crucifixion drew closer – it was about six months away at this point – our Lord was speaking more plainly to His disciples about the order of events leading up to His death and resurrection (8:31).

7.     Our Lord’s prediction was not unusual, but Peter’s reaction to it was.  He actually “rebuked Him” (8:32). 



1.     Peter’s reaction (he actually “rebuked” our Lord) showed that he did not really understand why our Lord came to earth. 

2.     Our Lord said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

3.     The apostle Paul said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Tim. 1:15).

4.     But how would He save sinners?

5.     By dying on the cross for their sins!  But Peter could not comprehend this.  He should have.

6.     Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

7.     Peter did not understand the cross, and so he rebuked our Lord (Mark 8:32).

8.     Then our Lord rebuked Peter (Mark 8:33).

9.     Jesus said Peter “savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men” (8:33).  G. Campbell Morgan defines the things that be of men as “self-seeking that shuns the cross, and ends in ultimate destruction.”

10. Before I continue on, let me point out that while Peter certainly was worldly in his thinking, he was not Satanic or demonic (Mark 8:33). But he was being used by Satan (cf. Luke 22:31, 32).

11. A man can be saved and still be misled by the devil.

12. By telling our Lord to avoid the cross, Peter was promoting Satan’s plan.  The devil deceives people into thinking they can get to heaven without the cross.

13. Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) was the pastor of the Riverside Church here in New York City from 1925 to 1946.

14. Fosdick bitterly attacked the doctrine of substitutionary atonement and denounced it as a “slaughterhouse religion.”

15. Today there are many influential preachers who teach the same false gospel as Fosdick.  A while back, in honor of Fosdick and his liberal teachings, the Riverside Church held “the 5th Fosdick Convention,” and two of the featured speakers were Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo.

16. These men are popular in so-called “evangelical circles,” but they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

17. In Matthew’s account, our Lord said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. 16:23).

18. The name Satan means “adversary.”  By protesting the cross, Peter was being our Lord’s adversary – therefore, he was “an offence” to Him.

19. By denying the cross, liberal preachers reveal themselves to be Satan’s ministers (II Cor. 11:15).

20. Anything that hinders the work of God is an offence to our Lord.  I hope there is no one here tonight that is guilty of that.  If you are hindering God’s work, you an offence to our Lord (Matt. 16:23).



1.    Please look again at the contrast:

·               “the things that be of God” (Mark 8:33), i.e. godly things, spiritual things.

·               “the things that be of men,” i.e. worldly things, carnal things (Mark 8:33).

2.    A survey recently discovered that

          20% of church members never pray

          25% never read the Bible

          30% never even attend church

          40% do not tithe

          50% do not attend Sunday School

          60% do not attend Sunday Night service

          70% do not give to missions

          75% are not involved in any church activity

          80% never go to prayer meeting

          90% never have family worship

          95% have never won a soul to Christ.

3.    This is what our Lord meant by the things “that be of men” (8:33).

4.    Our Lord told Peter: “thou art an offence to me…” (Matt. 16:23).  Later on He would rebuke the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:16).

5.    Peter’s words were offensive to our Lord because he wanted our Lord to avoid the cross.  Today there are many religious leaders, philosophers, teachers and professors, politicians, popular authors, swamis and gurus, entertainers, and all sorts of influential people that are promoting a philosophy that encourages people to forget about the cross. 

6.    It is a fact that the vast majority of sermons preached today avoid the cross.  Even in some fundamental churches, there is no longer the emphasis on the blood atonement that there should be.

7.    “What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus…”

8.    Our Lord’s reply is for all those false prophets who teach a bloodless gospel: “Get thee behind me, Satan…” (8:33). Soon Peter would get it right.  On the day of Pentecost he preached the death and resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:23, 24; cf. I Peter 2:24; 3:18).

<< Back                                       Next >>