Jesus’ words to Peter are direct and incisive. They ask Peter to make up his own mind. They test Peter and his knowledge and understanding of this man Jesus. Jesus is aware of what others are saying about him. He is aware that the other disciples have a glimmer of understanding of who he is, but here he is asking Peter to nail his colours to the mast. He wants to hear it from Peter’s own mouth who he thinks Jesus is – because he has big plans for Peter.
It is easy to think that following Jesus will sort out all our problems. We might be tempted to think that our financial burdens will disappear if we are ‘good’ Christians. We might think that our marriages, friendships and relationships will be easier and less sacrificial if we ask Jesus to sort the ‘other or others’ out! But following Jesus never was or is about a comfortable or easy life. Living a life of holiness and godliness will require us to face up to the Saviour – the Messiah and answer his direct question “Who do YOU say I am?” with honesty.
Do we really know who Jesus is?
Do we completely grasp his sacrificial death?
Do we acknowledge our own part in sending Jesus to that cross?
Because the only reason we have access to God – to a loving, compassionate, kind Heavenly Father is because of the saving work of Jesus – God’s one and only Son who died on the cross at Calvary for me and for you so that we might have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)
But the joy of the Christian life begins here on earth because when Jesus asks this question of his people and finds those who truly understand what it is to be saved by this Saviour – those who truly understand the miracle of repentance and new life and the hope found in Jesus and Jesus alone – only then can he begin to speak words like those he spoke to Peter: “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Matthew 16:18.
What beautiful words would he speak over you, over me and over us if we truly grasped just who it is asking us the question: Who do YOU say I am?”