People Who Were There
Message #8 in a series on New Testament Personalities

Whom Say Ye That I Am?

Read : Mark 8:27-33
Text : "And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ." Mark 8:29
Theme : You must decide who Jesus is, and how you will respond to Him.


"Jesus is standing in Pilate's hall
Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all:
Hearken what meaneth the sudden call!
What will you do with Jesus?

What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be;
Someday your heart will be asking,
'What will He do with me?'"

The songwriter asks an important question, "What will you do with Jesus?"

Jesus asked the same question in a different way, "Whom say ye that I am'?"

It marked a turning point in the ministry of Jesus. It was a question of life and death! Jesus could only teach the disciples so much before they had to make a decision. This was that decision time.


"Whom say ye that I am?"

I. Whom Do Others Say I Am? (vs. 27)

A. There were many opinions about Jesus.
QUESTION - Discuss the disciples' answer to this question. (List on whiteboard) What did the answer reveal about the people, in general?

ANSWER - They had not accepted Jesus as Messiah, even though they thought he was something beyond a mere man.

B. There are many today.
QUESTION - How do people view Jesus today? If Jesus asked this question of the disciples in America, what answers would they give? (List on whiteboard)

ANSWERS - He was a good man, He was a martyr, He is a teacher whose example we should follow, He was "a" son of God (JW's), He was a deluded man on a mission (The Passover Plot)

QUESTION - DISCUSS the list of answers: Are any of these views of Jesus right? What is right or wrong about each?

ANSWER - Most views of Jesus today deny the fact that He is God, even though they admit that He was a super-man.

C. PRINCIPLE - Just because the majority of people believe it, doesn't mean it is true!
QUESTION - If no one had confessed the truth, as Peter did, would it have changed who Jesus was?

QUOTE (public opinion is defined as) "the judgement of the incapable many, as opposed to that of the discerning few." Elbert Hubbard

"Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." Exodus 23:2

ILLUS. Lemmings "The name Lemming is a Norwegian word which means "destroying" and was given in reference to the ravages which occur during a migration. The migration is a remarkable phenomenon that occurs with almost calendar regularity during every fourth year. In vast numbers they travel in almost any direction, but once on the way continue along a straight path. As the main group marches forward it is joined by other groups. There are no detours or change of direction to bypass a lake or a rough, fast flowing river, even though thousands may perish. All kinds of carnivorous mammals, including arcticfoxes, wolves, wolverines, weasels, and caribou, and predatory birds reduce their numbers. The majority of lemmings, however, die by drowning, especially if they swarm into the sea. Usually the entire horde is destroyed." (Colliers Encyclopedia)

QUESTION - What are some things which the multitude believes today, but which are plainly not true?

DISCUSS - What do you think of this statement: Democracy is a wonderful form of government, but a useless method for determining truth?

QUESTION - Do you think this principle is harder for us in America to accept, because of our love for democracy?

II. Whom Do You Say I Am? (vs. 29)

QUESTION - How do you think Jesus felt when he heard the answer to His first question?

QUESTION - What was Peter's answer and what did it mean?

A. Thou art the Christ, the Son of God (cf. Matt. 16:16)
1. The anointed one (prophet, priest, king)

2. God the Son (not just a man!)

QUESTION - What do we learn about Peter from his answer?

ANSWER - He was discerning and open to the teaching of Jesus. (i.e. he had been listening) He was unafraid of the truth. He was willing to follow the truth alone (even if the whole world went the other way.)

1. Every individual must decide about His teachings.

(And many of them were quite controversial.)

- Heaven (do you really believe what He taught about this?)

"I go to prepare a place..." John 14:1-3

- Hell (do you really believe what He taught about this?)

"Where the fire is not quenched..," Mark 9

"The rich man died... and in hell...." Luke 16

2. Every individual must decide about His claims on them.

SONG Jesus Loves Me this I know...

- Claims to love you (do you really believe what He taught about this?)

"Greater love hath no man..." John 16:13

"...having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." John 13:1b

I am so glad that my Father in heaven,
Tells of His love in the book He has given.
Wonderful things In the Bible I see,
This is the dearest - that Jesus loves me!

QUESTION - Why is it important for us as individuals to accept and believe that Jesus loves us?

ANSWER - Discuss Jim Binney's observations that many who come to him for counseling have as their major stumbling block, an inability to truly accept the fact God loves them.

- Claims to be your sacrifice (do you really believe what He taught about this?)

"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him," II Cor. 6:22

3. Every individual must decide about His way.

- His way is exclusive (do you really believe what He taught about this?)

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12

4. Every individual must decide whether they will ACT on Him. (do you really believe what He taught about this?)

"Whosoever shall CALL..." Romans 10:13

"Believe on the Lord..." Acts 16:31

"I am the bread of life: he that COMETH to me shall never hunger." John 6:36

"Him that COMETH to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:31

III. Will You Accept Me On My Terms (vss. 32-33)

QUESTION - What was Peter really saying here?

QUESTION - What was wrong with what he said?

A. Peter had his own view of the Messiah,
1. Political rather than spiritual

2. Glorified rather than suffering.

QUOTE - "The word Messiah and the word Christ mean the same thing. Messiah is the Hebrew and Christ is the Greek for the Anointed One. A king was made king by anointing and the Messiah was God's Anointed King. It is important to remember that Christ is not a name; it is a title. Sometimes the Messiah was thought of as a king of David's line, but more often he was thought of as a great, super-human figure crashing into history to remake the world and in the end to vindicate God's people." (William Barclay)

B. Peter wanted the Messiah to fit into his interpretation.
1. Man's way is WORKS, but Jesus' way was the cross

"The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7

"He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." I John 2:2

2. Man's way is the NATURAL, but Jesus' way was the SUPERNATURAL, the resurrection.

"I live, I live, BECAUSE HE IS RISEN,
I live, I live with power over sin.
I live, I live because he is risen.
I live, I live to worship Him.
Thank you, Jesus, Thank you Jesus!
Because You're alive,
Because You're alive,

READ I Cor. 15:3-5a, 19-20

D. PRINCIPLE - Sometimes the greatest temptations to ignore God's truth comes from those close to us.
QUOTE - "The man who loves Jesus, but who shuns God's method is a stumbling block to Him."

QUOTE - "The tempter can make no more terrible attack than in the voice of those who love us and who think they seek only our good. That is what happened to Jesus that day; that is why He answered so sternly. Not even the pleading voice of love mus silence for us the imperius voice of God." (William Barclay)


Will you evade Him as Pilate tried?
Or will you choose Him, whate'er betide?
Vainly you struggle from Him to hide:
What will you do with Jesus?
What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be;
Someday your heart will be asking,
'What will He do with me?'"

"And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ." Mark 8:29

Every individual must decide who Jesus is, and how they will respond to Him.

It is a question of life and death!

"Whom say YE that Jesus is?"

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1997 William E. Johnson.