“During Lent, let us find concrete ways to overcome our indifference.”
Scripture: Matthew 16:13-16
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
"But what about you? Who do you say that I am?"
This is actually the second question Jesus asks in this passage of Scripture. First, He asks His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Even when Jesus was walking the earth people could not agree about who He was. What do people say now, 2000 years later? According to a 2015 Barna survey, 92% of adults in America believe that Jesus was a real person. 56% believe that Jesus is God. 26% say he a religious leader like Mohammed or Buddha. 18% are not sure. Surveys vary. Another survey taken in 2020 showed that 52% of Americans believe that Jesus is a good teacher and nothing more. This is the world we live in.
Then he asks his disciples: “But what about you? Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Good answer.
So what’s your answer? You know that this is a very important question. The answer to this question changes lives. The answer to this question changes families but a family cannot answer this question. The answer to this question changes nations but a nation cannot answer this question. You cannot answer this question for another person. You can only answer it for yourself and it is the only question where the consequences of the answer affect lives for eternity.
But what about you? Who do you say that Jesus is? How do we find out who someone is who we have never met in person? If it is a famous person, like Jesus, you can read about them and for Jesus we have a powerful resource in the Bible.
As we read the Bible we learn who God is, who Jesus is and how He relates to us. Jesus makes some very extraordinary claims about himself. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” “Before Abraham was, I am.” The writers of the Bible make some extraordinary claims about Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word was with God and Word was God”. These words are reliable because they were written by eye-witnesses, disciples that walked with Jesus and knew Him.
But for me this was not enough. The Bible says things about Jesus that are hard to believe and there was a time when I did not believe them. The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects.
Another way to get to know someone we have not met is to talk to people who knew him. I never met my mother’s father. There were no books written about him. What I know I heard from my mother. Her father died when she was a teenager but I could tell that Mom loved her father and liked to talk about him. My mother died a few years ago. If anyone wants to know about her I am happy to talk about her. Thinking about her even now brings a tear to my eye. We like to talk about people who love us.
For me, reading the Bible was the beginning but it was not enough to move me out of the group that believed Jesus was just a good teacher. But then I met people who knew Jesus. Not Jesus in a physical body like the disciples knew, but the living, active, personal Jesus that was a big part of their lives. The Jesus that they loved. They had answered the big question for themselves. Jesus was their Savior. Jesus was the Lord of their lives. He was not just a good teacher to them but someone who loved them and died for them. Sometimes tears came to their eyes when they talked about Him.
“Who do you say that I am?" We first have to answer the question with our lips and our hearts but we also have to answer the question with our lives. It is lives changed by the love of Jesus that show the world who Jesus is and say, “Let me tell you about the Jesus who loves me.” Sometimes with tears.
May our lives reflect the love that you have shown us, so that others will know that You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.