Jesus Asks: “Who Do You Say That I Am?”
“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked.
“Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’”
Matthew 16:15-18 NIV
Contrary to Shakespeare’s worthy opinion in Hamlet, Jesus’ quote above is “The Question.”
Our personal opinions about “Who Jesus is” do not change the Truth of Who He is, no more than my Dad’s sincere belief since 1917 that the Cubs are a world class baseball team has clinched for them a World Series title over that time span.
Nevertheless, our voluntary decision regarding the role Jesus will play in our lives—i.e. the personal conclusion we come to regarding His identity—does in fact change where we spend eternity. How’s that for important!?
1 John 5:11-12 NIV: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Now this shouldn’t amaze us or strike us as particularly unfair; we see this scenario played out in our practical lives:
Each week our earthly existence rests on whether or not we will choose to put appropriate (i.e. true) liquids into our bodies: if we drink clean water, we will continue to live; if we drink bleach, motor oil, or any other number of poisons, regardless of the cleverness of the outside bottle’s design, we will eventually die.
Each month our earthly existence rests on whether or not we will choose to put appropriate (i.e. true) food into our bodies: if we eat food, we will continue to live; if we eat any number of indigestible items such as plastic, dirt, carpet fibers, lumber, etc., regardless of our enjoyment of such delicacies, we will eventually die.
So it seems that in the spiritual life, just as in its practical counterpart, the choices we make regarding what will be our earthly and eternal sustenance—the choices that we make regarding who/what we will rely on—do in fact matter.
We often check the nutrition labels before we put an item in our bodies, and rightly so! But are we as meticulous about what we feed our souls? Are we as concerned about who or what we are counting on to give us life forever more? Have we wrestled with the following clear and direct statement from Jesus:
John 6:35-36 NIV: “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, & he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me & still you do not believe.’”
It is my prayer that reading through the Bible as well as the posts on this website will help all of us to joyfully answer Jesus’ question in Matthew 16 above with the same accurateness, boldness, & active faithfulness as Peter did 2,000 years ago.
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg –or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice.
Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
For Further Study