In the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 16), Jesus–in one of his discussions with his disciples–asked them a simple question. “Who do people say that I am?” That was easy to answer. “Some think you’re John the Baptist…or Elijah…or this or that prophet…”
They might have thought that was all there was to it. But then came the challenge. “Who do YOU say that I am?”
I think they must have all fallen quiet then. Who was this man they’d been spending so much time with? Was he a prophet? something more? How were they supposed to answer that question?
A lot of times we focus on the one answer that’s recorded. While I believe it’s an important one, I think the question is perhaps more important, because it’s a question that each one of us has to answer for ourselves.
It doesn’t take much looking around to see that there are lots of different answers:
- a loving parent
- a kind of namby-pamby peace-loving beatnik
- a vengeful judge
- a prophet who called people back to God
- Son of God
- Lots more possibilities…you can choose the one(s) you want
Some of them make sense to me…a lot don’t. But that’s okay. What’s important is that I have to answer the question. Who do I say that this Jesus is?
My response to that question impacts everything else in my life. It’s the foundation on which everything is built–how I respond to difficult times…how I treat other people…everything.
So…who do I say that he is?
I believe that he was God in the flesh, come to draw us in to a closer relationship and to show us the way to relate to God and each other. I believe he was a literal person–somehow, in ways that I don’t completely understand, both human and divine. While he was killed, I also believe that he lived again–and continues to live, walking with us and guiding us (and sometimes pulling us) into a life that is focused on right relationships with all of creation. He, as part of the Trinity that helps me understand God, was–and is–one that I can give my heart fully to in worship
Who do you say that he is?