In the center of the Gospel - there's this fabulous interaction between Christ and his disciples -
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.And I think this passage is just a great summary of the Gospel. It opens with God declaring to the world through the baptism of Jesus that Jesus actually is no mere man, but is the very Son of God. Throughout the rest of the Gospel, we see how Christ has come to fulfill that ministry, declaring to all the nations that they must repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. This message is not a message devoid of power, but one filled with authority of God. Christ heals, Christ preaches, Christ calls.
He demonstrates sumpreme mastery over the writings of God, accurately refuting the Pharisitical interpretations and setting forth what actually was the proper interpretation. He trashes man-made traditions opposed to the glory of God. He casts out demons, he heals, Christ is obviously no mere man.
Yet, in spite of all these things, the only people (?) that really understand who Christ truly is during his ministry are the demons, who recognize him and fear him. Other people wonder if he's posessed by demons, use him as a lucky rabbits foot, look to him for mere physical sustenence. Of course, there's true belief there too, but it seems like no one really recognizes Christ as the Son of God. And if they do (like the Mark 8 passage), they don't understand the ramifications (Peter gets rebuked right after the above passage for not understanding what Christ's purpose was for).
And Christ suffers through their unbelief. He endures the unbelief of his apostles, who don't realize that He is the bread of life, the living water, the giver of life. He endures through the unbelief of Israel, who don't recognize their King when He comes. And He endures through the unbelief of the pharisees, who see him merely as a threat to their own power and crucify him for that.
And He does this why? To serve His people, to lay down his life on behalf of many. (Hah, Limited Atonement!). Now isn't that just crazy? That God of very God, one in essence with the Father, possessing eternal power, steps down into earth to declare the Kingdom of God is here, and then dies to bring the Kingdom to His people? Forsaken by the Father that I might be brought in? What?!
So the question for you, and the question for me, is "Who do you say that He is?" Was he just come crazy guy who said some interesting and useful things? Was he a perpetual liar who somehow got lucky enough to live through some close calls? Or was it the very Son of God, come down to earth with all power and authority of God, come to give His life as a ransom for sinner so that they may be free from bondage? Was He just a good example? Or something much more?
It's crazy that one person who gets it doesn't get it when Christ is healing everyone, but gets it when he dies. "Truly, this man was the Son of God."