Mark 8:27-9:29 – Jesus Teaches about His Passion and Resurrection for the First Time
SummaryJesus questions his disciples about who they think he is. Peter's response, that Jesus is the Messiah, leads to Jesus announcing that he will be killed and raised from the dead.
The setting of these verses is Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" Their responses are threefold: John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets. When Jesus intensifies the question by asking what the disciples think, Peter responds, "You are the Messiah," and Jesus commands the disciples to silence. Jesus' messiahship will not be a political display of power, but something hidden in the cross and in the identity of a servant or slave (8:27-30).
All three passion and resurrection announcements in Mark's Gospel sustain a pattern developed by the first passion and resurrection announcement (8:31), followed by the disciples' misunderstanding (8:32-33), and concluding with Jesus' teaching on discipleship, which here focuses on the paradox of saving one's life by losing it for Jesus' sake and the sake of the gospel (8:34-9:1).
The transfiguration is at the midpoint of Mark's Gospel. Like the voice from heaven at Jesus' baptism (1:9-11), readers again hear the voice that ushers them into the second half of the Gospel: "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" (9:7). The disciples are warned to remain silent, and Jesus teaches that the forerunner role of Elijah has come in the person of John the Baptist (9:9-13). This collection of events concludes with Jesus casting out an unclean spirit that the disciples were unable to cast out (9:14-29).