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Whose Interests Are We Minding?

by J Patrick Bowman  
7/20/2019 / Christian Living

In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus begins teaching that would cause some to wonder, some to wander, and the demonic to manifest. “31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels’” (NASB).

In verse 32 we read that Jesus was stating the matter plainly. The King James says “He spake that saying openly.” The Greek word for plainly and openly is parrhÄ"sia, which also carries the added emphasis of frankly, bluntly, publicly with confidence and assurance. So Jesus was, perhaps for the first time, explaining and expounding on His mission in a way that left no doubt who and what He was talking about.

The second half of verse 32 adds, “And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.” Keep in mind that just before the passage we are examining, Jesus asked His disciples “who men say that I am?” He then asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:27-29 NASB). So we see Peter make the grand confession of scripture as to who Jesus is and then take Jesus aside and rebuke Him! I think it important to note that it was Jesus’ message of the cross and not Peter’s confession that caused the demonic to rise in Peter and warrant a rebuke by Jesus (v33).

Notice also in the same verse Jesus’ reason for the rebuke: “for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” I also believe that Peter sensed the personal implications of what Jesus was teaching for all that chose to follow Him. As Jesus gathered the disciples and the crowd (v34), He lays these personal implications out; again very frankly, bluntly, publicly with confidence and assurance (vv34b-38). There is no conjecture here; nothing to guess at. The cross was a reality to those who would follow Him. A life of compromise was a life lost. A life lost for the cause of Christ was a life saved. There was no middle ground of gaining the world and keeping Christ. 

Satan will always bring up carnal interests and parade them as the best interests. But Jesus would have no part of that.  We must continually ask, “Whose interests are we minding?”

Rev. J. Patrick Bowman is an ordained Christian minister, author, and educator. He lives and ministers from The Dalles, OR in the midst of the scenic Columbia River Gorge. He is "Papa Pat" to his grandkids and to whoever the Lord may send his way. Learn more at or

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