Question #4 “But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15
Jesus never asks a question because He doesn’t know the answer. His inquiries are not to gain knowledge, but to probe hearts.
As Jesus and his disciples stopped in Caesarea Philippi he asked them a question fairly easy to answer: “Who are people saying that I am?” It was easy to respond to because they had all heard the scuttlebutt concerning Jesus and his ministry. Answering this question required no conviction, commitment or risk.
“Well,” they said, “some think you may be John the Baptist. And a rumor out there is that you may be Elijah or possibly Jeremiah or another of the prophets from long ago.”
If Jesus asked us that question today and quizzed us about our culture’s take on Him we might reply, “A lot of people agree that you are a really nice man and a great teacher, although some may consider you out of touch and irrelevant. And I’m embarrassed to say that to some you are thought of as a myth from less enlightened times.”
But then comes the tough question … the one that searches the deepest part of our spiritual nature – the question that not only defines our theology but what we’re doing with it: “But who do you say I am?”
Peter responds immediately, something he often did. But for all the times he spoke before he stopped to think, this time he nailed the affirmation Jesus was and still is looking for. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
What those around us believe to be true about Jesus matters little compared to what we believe about Him. If we don’t see Jesus as God’s Son, who lived a perfect life and offered his life for the world’s sin … we’ll have an impossible task of changing any faulty view of this Savior whose birth we are about to celebrate.
And the reason this conviction is so critical for believers is found in his next statement: “And this truth of who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church …” Matthew 16:18 The Passion Translation
The Church … the Bride of Christ … is not built on theological discussions. It is not built on good works of charity and kindness, as important as they are. It is not constructed on the consensus of the majority who attempt to figure it out. Its very foundation is built on Jesus.
We must answer this question correctly.
So – who do you say he is?