Finding all the border pieces: Mark 8:27-9:1

When we are on vacation, my family sometimes likes to assemble a large puzzle.  After the pieces have been carefully spread out on the table, all turned up and in one layer, the sorting of the pieces begins.  When someone says “This looks like a corner piece,” the outline of the puzzle image has officially begun.

Putting together a puzzle involves a particular strategy.  Most people find all the border pieces first.  Borders have something we can identify; a straight outside edge that we can get a handle on.  

Once the puzzle border is in place we take on the more difficult challenge of the middle pieces.  These are harder because we can’t predict how they fit together.  We know they are supposed to fit together – we just have to discover how.

How do we know what the finished puzzle image looks like?  To what can we compare the pieces to see if they are fitting together correctly?  We use the puzzle box cover.  But even though we see the box cover and know what the puzzle is supposed to look like, it can still be a challenge to fit all the pieces together.

When it comes to knowing God, He has given us the box cover in Jesus.  He has told us who Jesus is and what He looks like – now we have to understand how the pieces fit together.  

In the same way, with the border of the puzzle in place, Mark’s gospel turns towards Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem for the middle pieces to be put in place.   We began with Jesus' identity, now it is time to understand Jesus' mission and ministry.

Understanding Jesus isn't just knowing a title or a name.  Understanding Jesus means understanding the sacrifice He made for our sins.  Peter was quick to confess Jesus as the Christ - but when it came to Christ suffering for us, Peter still had some learning to do.

The final pieces begin with the end in mind.  Jesus talks with His disciples about what the finish looks like.  Why do you think the disciples wanted to reject Jesus’ prediction of the end of His earthly ministry?