One day as Jesus was alone, praying, he came over to his disciple and asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.”
Then he asked them, “Who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”
We are inundated in America with a plethora of information about Jesus Christ. There are churches on nearly every street corner, television stations broadcasting the “Good News”, billboard signs flashing catchy phrases, and a good majority of Americans representing their version of Jesus Christ. With all this information coming down the pipe, we must be a stable Christian nation, with each individual truly understanding who Jesus Christ really is, right?
Most of us, if we’ve attended church at any point in our life, have a basic understanding of Jesus Christ and the facts about his life, while he walked upon this earth. We sit and listen while those around us attempt to explain what Jesus Christ represents to them, and often times, we receive a tainted view.
In this passage of scripture Jesus is asking his disciples a simple question. He wants them to tell him what others are saying about him; who others proclaim him to be. They’ve been around town, attended local church services, overheard gossip and rumors and Jesus wants them to spill the beans.
The disciples were quick to respond to his direct question and the results were varied yet unanimous. Unanimous in the fact that none thought that he was God’s Son, sent as the long-awaited Messiah. Anyone of Jewish descent was taught to anticipate the arrival of the coming Messiah, but very few actually believed that this man named Jesus, the son of a carpenter, could possible fit the bill. They longed for a Savior, but ultimately rejected him because he didn’t live up to their preconceived notion of what they wanted their Savior to look and act like.
Jesus quickly took the conversation to a more personal level. He now asks the disciples to share their own personal opinions on who they believed him to be. The disciples had shared a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus, and were able to base their answers on their experiences with him, rather than on gossip, rumors and outside information. They saw him in light of who he really was, rather than on the tainted view that others had painted for them.
A few years back, while walking through some extremely difficult situations in my life, Jesus Christ posed this question to me during my intimate prayer time with him. I had served him for many years, at this point, and thought that my faith and trust in him was already settled and strong. But I have to admit, when he confronted me that particular morning, it was as if I had the breath knocked out of me.
You see, I was coming before him in prayer, asking him to solve what appeared to be an impossible problem. I was literally asking for a miracle, and believed that he was more than able to grant my request, especially since I was living for him and attempting to do all the right things. After he would solve my impossible situation, I would be able to move on with my nice little life, serving him and proclaiming to others that we serve a faithful, loving God that solves all our problems and answers all our requests, in the way that we want him to.
In almost an audible voice, I heard the Lord ask me some tough questions that morning. The first question was this; “Who do you say that I am?” I knew what he meant by that question. He wanted me to dig deep and evaluate my own heart. Did I really believe what I had been taught over my lifetime? Was Jesus Christ really my Savior, Messiah and Son of the most-high God?
The second question was the one that hit me like a ton of bricks; “If your prayers don’t get answered the way you want them to, who, then, will you say that I am?” At that moment, I questioned everything that was in me. My faith and heart lay bear before me, and I wept knowing that I couldn’t honestly answer that question the way I sincerely wanted to.
God knew that if I was to move forward in my purpose and calling that he needed to reveal my true heart and motives. He already knew what they were, but I needed to see them for myself. Was I serving him for what he could do for me, like a Santa Clause figure, or was I serving him because he was the almighty God of the Universe?
I answered a tough question that morning, and began working through a difficult process of learning to love and accept God regardless of the circumstances around me. For you see, he didn’t answer my request the way I wanted him to, but he is still my Savior and Messiah, none-the-less. His actions or lack of actions in my life hasn’t changed who he is. I was the one who needed a new perspective. I’ve answered the question of, “Who do you say that I am?” Now it’s your turn.
What is your view of Jesus Christ? Have you relied on other’s opinions of who he is, or have you developed your own? Take some quiet reflection time today to answer the question that the Lord asks all of us, “Who do YOU say that I am?” You won’t be able to move forward in your spiritual walk until you can answer that question.
Have a great day!