“You Are the Christ” was really fun to write. Eight verses is a lot for one song, but by drawing from a few different translations (including the NIV and The Message), eventually the words fell over the chord changes with enough symmetry to build a song around. And it certainly helped that Sally did such a great job conveying the third verse.
As families listen to Sing the Bible together, this song seems to generate more questions than any other. I told my children this verse is about life and death. And it’s about Jesus’s rescue mission, which Peter clearly misunderstood.
You could sub-title this passage “How to Save Your Life,” by Jesus. Jesus wants us to live a resurrected life, glorifying him with our joy and peace and love for others. We want that for ourselves as well, but we don’t want to experience death to get it. Jesus says that’s impossible. The strangling of my sin and self-centeredness feels like death, because it IS a kind of death. (Who among us hasn’t said, “This is killing me!”)
This may seem too dark and heavy for kids to grapple with, but I don’t think it is. They don’t want to share. They don’t want to obey. This verse gives them language for those feelings and a gospel context for them, because sometimes sharing or obeying feels like dying. Your son may be like mine and feel like he’s laying down his life by simply being nice to his brother. I tell him those feelings are legitimate. This is how our children “share in the fellowship of his sufferings” in their own way.
I hope this helps you talk with you kids about this song/verse. Don’t forget to ask them what they think first. My kids are some of my best teachers.
Mark 8:27-29, 31-35
Jesus and his disciples went on
To the villages around Caesarea.
Along the way he asked them,
“Who do the people say I am?”
They said, “Some say John the Baptist;
Some say Elijah; others say a prophet.”
“What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered Jesus, “You are the Christ.”
Jesus told his disciples
“Don’t breathe a word of this to anyone.”
He then began explaining things to them
He said “The Son of Man must suffer many things,
be rejected by the elders, priests and the teachers,
He must be killed and after three days rise again.
Peter rebuked Jesus
Jesus turned to Peter. He said “Get behind me, Satan!”
“You do not have in mind the things of God,
But the things of men.”
Then he called the crowd to him
along with his disciples and said: “Whoever
wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,
but whoever loses their life for me
and for the gospel will save it.”
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