Commentary on the Gospel of
Do Not Lead, But Follow
Mark places the event at Caesarea-Philippi in chapter 8, right at the midpoint of his 16-chapter gospel. Thus, the proclamation of the Messianic identity of Jesus becomes the central message around which the events are arranged. Mark had built up the narrative by a series of events which manifested Jesus’ tremendous power; but at this point, affirming Peter’s proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah, he presents Jesus as revealing the earthly fate that awaits him. Given the nature of the events that preceded, none of the disciples was primed for such a revelation. No wonder Peter was so scandalized that he protested. But then, blocking God’s way is the work of the devil. The place of a disciple is behind the Master, not in front of him. Disciple must follow, not lead. Anyone who leads God’s faithful must keep in mind that even in the very act of leading, he or she is only following the road the Master walks.