LUKE 9:18-20: “While he was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, that one of the ancient prophets has come back.” “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” CSB
OBSERVATION: Who is Jesus? This is the most important question that anyone can ask. It is a question that will determine the outcome of one’s entire life. It is a question that will be answered, whether intentionally, or unintentionally – by how we live.
There are those who dismiss Jesus as a mere myth of the Christian faith. They believe the Bible is merely a fable written by men. To take this position is to dismiss the entire historical record. It is in essence a position of ignorance and convenience. Ignorance, because it denies the testimony of history. Convenience, because in doing so they do not have to deal with the teachings of Jesus.
There are those who dismiss Jesus as merely a great teacher or prophet. They are like those who thought Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead, or Elijah come back from heaven. They think they honor Jesus by giving him credit for His wisdom and moral teaching. Yet, they dishonor Him because they reject the very essence of what Jesus said. He said – “I and the Father are one.” And, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” This too is a matter of convenience, because it allows one to put Jesus in a general camp of teachers. If you choose to follow His teachings, well and good. However, if you do not, there are no consequences.
When Jesus addressed the disciples directly, He was not interested in what others thought. His question was directed at them personally. “Who do YOU say that I am?” And to this Peter said,
In the Gospel of Matthew we read Jesus’ response to Peter’s answer.
- “Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:17-18 CSB
Peter’s answer superseded an honest evaluation of the facts (history). It stood miles apart from the answers of the crowd. It was a confession of faith that flowed from a revelation from God the Father. It would become the very foundation of the Christian faith. This foundation is –
“Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Yet, there are those who proclaim that Jesus is Lord, and still do not understand what this means. In the Gospel of Luke we see those who were eager to get in line with the right answer, but they were unwilling to pay the price of true discipleship. It is not enough to call Jesus Lord. We must be willing to forsake all for this profession of faith!
- “Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it. For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and that of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:23-26 CSB
Jesus was a counterculture radical. He was not a radical in the sense that we view radicals today. His was not a movement of anarchy or civil unrest. His was a movement of truth that tore at the very fabric of both the religious community and the social norms of His day. To profess Jesus as Lord meant being willing to die for everything He said. His teaching was not merely the great orations of a world class teacher. They were the proclamation of the God of Creation. If we say that we love Jesus, but are ashamed of His words and teachings, we will find ourselves in the same camp as those who merely dismiss Jesus as a fable, or another teacher in the line of all the renown teachers of the world.
If Jesus is Lord, than everything He said is the revelation of the heart, mind, and will of the Father. We cannot proclaim to believe in God and then dismiss the Word of God, or pick and choose only the portions that we like, are comfortable, and agree with our world view. We must surrender our world view for His. We must die to our self will and take up our cross to follow Him – completely!
So, this is the context of the world’s greatest question. And as we ponder the context, how will we respond when we hear Jesus say,
“Who do YOU say that I am?”
In Jesus Name!