Mark 8:27

Afterward Jesus and his disciples went into the villages around Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples this question – “Who do people say that I am?” 

village by village
a picture grows clearer

question by question
a painter grows clearer

what is the product
who is the producer

having seen one
the other is seen

who am I
I am you

but this is not
the only report

who else and what else
are people seeing

each has some truth
enough to distract

until both are seen
their value village small

As our valiant band travels from Bethsaida-Julias, a couple of miles north of the sea that has played such an important role in the first part of Mark, to Caesarea Philippi, another 30+ miles away from Jerusalem, we find a continuation of the end of the first part of Mark and the lament, “Do you not yet understand?”

If the Twelve don’t get the import of the yeast, here is what seems like a next opportunity to begin building toward that missed understanding. “Who do people say that I am?

What appears to be a data-driven question is really part of an on-going investigation into who these people are that were called into this mission. They were certainly not full-blown apostellō. In fact they didn’t have the personal experience the healed had who were admonished to not tell about their experience.

Their experience of going out two-by-two was an experience of their participation in being on the receiving end of hospitality (that they couldn’t translate into hospitality) and being participants in healing of others (without having had the experience of, themselves, being healed). They had no real witness to make about Jesus. They only had their own presumed privilege and anticipated glory to come.

The question about other’s perception of Jesus is here a question about what categories the Twelve have available to them when the question gets closer to home. We are all connected with a culture, even hermits have a connection-at-a-distance. These connections set some of the limits on our perception. This in turn affects what we are able to hope for and recognize as significant.

In the end this is a significant question—what water do we swim in?

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