A question of identity

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought forward a blind man and begged Jesus to lay hands on him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, after applying saliva to the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him.

“Can you see anything?” he asked.

The man looked around. “Yes,” he said. “I can see people. They look just like trees walking .”

Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again. This time his eyes were opened completely, his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village on your way back.”

Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went on to the villages in the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they said, “some say John the Baptist; some say Elijah; and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

“What about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter said, “You are the Messiah.”

Then Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he spoke quite openly about these events, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him for saying such things.

Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You are looking at things from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Then, calling the crowd and his disciples to gather round him, he said, “If anyone wants to be my disciple he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. What good would it do anyone to gain the whole world but lose his own soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Then he said, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God coming with power!”


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