He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Matthew 16:15 NKJV
Passage Reading: Matthew 16:13-16
In our world today, we are short of many things. Some may say money; others may say time, while many may say fuses or temper. But one thing we are not lacking in societal circles is opinions.
Social media has ramped up this platform and allowed keyboard warriors to use their swift and mighty fingers to slay any topic at will. Turn on the television and watch any number of newscasters give their view of any given topic. It appears that opinions have taken the place of reporting and thus presented as the story.
Opinions and perception are nothing new. In the passage reading above, Jesus is continuing His travels to Caesarea Philippi. He has most recently been with the 5000 where the miracle of the loaves and fishes has taken place. As He and His disciples are entering the city, Jesus is asking what the gossip is around Who He is; He is asking about the perception of the masses.
Jesus is not a man swayed by public opinion, so to ask this of His disciples was not a question of His “measuring up” as it were. No, Jesus is asking this question so that His next question could carry the weight. The disciples answer Jesus with varying responses; “John the Baptist”; “Elijah”, and so on. Not hanging on the replies, Jesus turns to them and says, “What about you; Who do YOU say that I am?”
This is a personal question. Jesus was asking them for their understanding, their perception, of Who He was to them. He did not ask, “In view of these things that others are saying about Me, what do you think of Me?” He was not asking them to have a meeting and discuss it; He was not asking their collective judgement or what influence others had on their view. Jesus was asking them, personally, for their individual perception.
Perhaps Jesus was wanting them to weigh what others were perceiving about Him against what they were witnessing about Him. Perhaps He wanted them to ask Him more. Or maybe, just maybe, Jesus wanted to see who would be the first of His followers to acknowledge that He was, indeed, the Christ; and Peter didn’t disappoint. Passionate Peter – the one who would deny that he would deny Jesus until he did. Passionate Peter – the one swinging the sword in the garden and severing the ear of the Roman guard. Passionate Peter – the one on whom Jesus said He would build His church. But that is a writing for another day.
So, may I ask YOU? Who do YOU say Jesus is? Our world has so very many opinions and perceived notions about the authority of Christ; the relevance of Scripture in the culture today; the very Deity of Jesus…so what is YOUR answer?
Who is Jesus to YOU?
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