So often I have used this passage as a passage to call people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ - to introduce non-believers to their Savior. However, tonight, something different showed up like never before. These things popped out of the page:
1). Jesus asked HIS DISCIPLES...
That’s right. Jesus asked his disciples what other people thought about him. But then, he asked THE question to them, “But who do you say that I am?” This was not a question that he asked the crowd. This was a question that he asked his disciples.
The same is true today. Jesus asks his followers, “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” Why would he ask us this question? We have “prayed the prayer” and “made things right” so that we can go to heaven. I mean, isn’t this all that the Christian life is about? I’m guessing not. Because what follows the response that Jesus hears does not start off with salvation.
2). Only One Answered Jesus...
I’m sure that you’ve seen it before, but it’s worth repeating. All of the disciples piped in when it was time to share the town gossip that they had heard about Jesus. They were quick to point out what others thought of him. However, when it came time to get very personal and to share their own opinion, they all fell silent, except one. Simon was the only one who answered, proclaiming Jesus to be the Son of the living God.
Why would the others stay silent? Why wouldn’t they proclaim their faith in him? I think the answer follows:
3). Peter’s opinion about Jesus was GIVEN to him.
That’s right. Peter did not come up with that idea all by himself. Jesus tells Peter, “...flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Peter replied to Jesus’ question because the Father gave him the answer. The other disciples remained silent because they didn’t know the answer.
4). How you answer Jesus’ question will RADICALLY AFFECT YOUR LIFE.
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Peter’s life would be RADICALLY AFFECTED by his acknowledgement of who Jesus was. And Jesus will RADICALLY AFFECT each person who proclaims him as LORD GOD. Notice that Jesus tells Peter about the mission without mentioning anything about his salvation. I do believe salvation is huge in God’s redemptive plan of his people, but the call to a mission that is bigger than ourselves, and one that comes with the authority of heaven, is also part of that salvation message.
I wonder how many “Christians” today would not answer Jesus’ question if he asked them what their opinion of him was. The reason: a whole lot of life change would be happening—radical life change that leaves a person changed forever. For me to proclaim Jesus to be Lord means that my life better follow exactly what I’m proclaiming.
The question: What about you, who do you say Jesus is? Beware: answering this question will change everything.