Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Human One is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you. I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it. I’ll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Anything you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. Anything you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven.” Then he ordered the disciples not to tell anybody that he was the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20, Common English Bible).
Today’s lesson is another of my favorites in Matthew’s gospel. We are going to stay here for a few days and see what we might pick up in this story.
Do you remember the old children’s game, “Who Am I?” I had a teacher in elementary school who loved the game, well at least as a teaching aide. She thought it was a great way to for us to get to know characters in history or characters in the fiction reading books she assigned. I can remember her lessons for historical characters like Sam Houston, Daniel Boone and William B. Travis to name but a few (it was fourth grade and in Texas fourth grade means Texas history.
In today’s lesson Jesus asks the disciples to play a bit of “Who Am I” with him except he puts a bit of a twist on the game. He first asks the disciples who people around the countryside say he is. That one is a pretty easy question to answer. If I were to take a poll of my readers, asking you to leave a comment about who people around you say Jesus is, you would probably have a pretty easy time answering that question. You see, the question is about your knowledge about what other people think. The answer could range anywhere from “a very good man who loved everyone” to “a figure from ancient history” to “The Messiah” to “a mythological man who never existed” (remember, this is what others think, you really can’t leave any of those out). There could also be any number of similar answers.
As for the disciples, their answer was, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” That makes sense. They are answering who others thought Jesus might be.
Now Jesus turns the table in this little game of “Who Am I?” He now asks, “But what about you, who do you say I am?” As usual, Peter is the first to come up with an answer to the question, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus’ question is a question we all have to answer. “Who do you say he is?” That question is the most basic of faith questions. For the Christian, almost everything rides on the answer.
Who do you say He Is?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved