Do you know it’s possible to know something about who Jesus is and still not truly be following him? Did you know that you can regularly attend church and desire many of the blessings of God’s salvation and still not be a Christian? In this message from Mark 8:31–38, David Platt points us to the sobering experience of Jesus’ disciples. Even with the recognition that Jesus was the Christ, the Deliverer God had promised, they didn’t yet fully understand the kind of Deliverer they needed. They didn’t realize that following Jesus would mean counting the cost and forsaking temporal comfort and pleasures in this world for the sake of finding greater, eternal pleasures in the life to come. What about you—have you considered what it really means to follow Jesus?
What does the passage say?
- Aloud as a group, read Mark 9:1–13. Take some time to let group members share observations about the passages. Try not to move into interpretation of the passage or application of what you have read quite yet. Simply share what you all observe from the text.
- Identify the setting, characters, conflict, climax and resolution of the narrative.
- Review the context of the passage. What is happening before and after the passage?
- Review parallel passages and cross-references to better understand the passage. For today’s passage, review Luke 9:28–36 and Matthew 17:1–13.
- How would you explain or summarize these passages in your own words?
What does the passage mean?
- Jesus is no mere religious teacher – He is not just a prophet like Moses or Elijah – Jesus is the glory of God in the flesh. In Mark 9:1–13, Jesus is not reflecting the glory of God – He is revealing the glory of God. What is the distinction between Jesus reflecting God’s glory and His revealing God’s glory? What does His revelation of God’s glory say about Jesus?
- If Jesus is all these things (Glory of God, Son of God, Word of God, Savior of our souls, Sustainer in our suffering, Guarantor of our glory), then what does that teach us about our destiny if we are in Him? What does this teach us about the destiny of our loved ones who are not in Christ?
How can we apply this passage to our lives?
- Recent years have revealed significant challenges that live in us and around us all, individually and collectively. In those challenges, how has the Lord opened your eyes to see Him more clearly? How has He grown you to know, understand, love and trust Him more firmly? Take time to praise Him for the ways He has revealed the Lord and His glory to you.
- Read John 1:1–4, 14–18, and 3:16. Jesus is the Word of God, the Son of God and the Savior of our souls. Who do you say Jesus is? Do you personally know that He is the revelation of God? Have you accepted Him as your personal Savior? If not, Jesus is inviting you personally to accept Him. Please talk with your Church Group leaders to learn more.
- Read 1 John 2:15–17. Life is found not in the things of the world, but in looking on and listening to (which includes trusting and surrendering to [cf. Deuteronomy 6:1–3]) Jesus, the Word of God. What Scriptural truth is among the most difficult for you to trust? What new measure might you take in faith this week to lay aside your resistible reasoning, deny your personal desires, deviate from the norm, and radically yield to that truth?
- Read 1 Peter 3:8–17. Faith and righteousness involve suffering, and the suffering of the righteous is blessed. Think of a follower of Jesus (historical or contemporary) whose life was/is marked by profound faithfulness and suffering for righteousness’ sake. In what ways has their suffering for righteousness’ sake resulted in blessing?
- After the children of Israel suffered Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:40), the Lord brought them out in a way that compelled Moses and the children of Israel (and Exodus readers across the ages) to sing of His glory and wonder (cf. Exodus 15:1–21, esp. v. 11). Have you suffered for righteousness’ sake? If so, what new delights or joys in the Lord might you and others have received as a result of the experience(s)?
- Jesus’ return and His coming Kingdom is often spoken of in the Scriptures for our encouragement. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, Hebrews 12:3–29, and 1 John 2:28–29. What encouragement do you take from these Scripture passages?
Once you see Jesus’ true identity, you will realize your true destiny.
- Jesus is the Glory of God.
(Mark 9:2; cf. Exodus 3:1–2, 12, 19:1–3, 16–20, 24:15–18, 34:29–33, Hebrews 1:1–3, 2 Corinthians 4:6)
- Jesus is the Son of God.
(Mark 9:7; cf. Genesis 22:1–2, 11–14)
- Jesus is the Word of God.
(Mark 9:7; cf. Deuteronomy 18:15–16, Hebrews 1:1–2)
- Jesus is the Savior of our souls.
- Jesus is the Sustainer in our suffering.
(Mark 9:11–13; cf. Malachi 4:4–6, Matthew 17:1–13, Isaiah 53:3–4)
- Jesus is the Guarantor of our glory.
(Mark 9:2; cf. Romans 8:28–30, 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18)