Matthew 16, Mark 8 and Luke 9:18-27
As we read through the gospels we see so many different responses to Jesus: awe, fear, mocking, belief, anger, laughter, and obedience, to name a few. Some dropped everything to follow him, some were scared of the unknown and asked him to leave. Similarly, today, there are many varied responses to Jesus as well as much question and argument over who Jesus really is.
Jesus knew of the confusion when he asked his disciples – “Who do people say I am?” (Mark 8:27) Our parallel passage in Luke has similar wording. In Matthew he asks “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13) – which is also the same question since Jesus used the phrase ‘Son of Man’ for himself 28 times in the book of Matthew.
The disciples had lots of answers, just as you would receive lots of answers if you asked a multitude of people today who Jesus was.
But, more importantly – Jesus next asked who THEY, his disciples, thought Jesus was. These were the men who had already sacrificed to get to know Jesus better. They had followed him night and day. They had seen his miracles and heard his teaching. They had been confused MANY times by this man they had been observing and what he was teaching. But, they kept asking questions and sought to understand more and more.
So, when asked, bold Peter was ready with an answer. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16). And he was commended for his correct answer.
There are so many things Peter didn’t say. He didn’t say you are God the Son. He didn’t say you are the son of Joseph. He didn’t say you are a wise teacher that will probably be forgotten in a few centuries.
He said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ was not Jesus’ last name. Christ is a Greek term for the Messiah (in Hebrew) – both of which refer to the Anointed One. The Messiah was the long anticipated hero savior God had promised to send to the Jews. He is the Anointed One to rule over God’s new creation.
At the time Jesus commended Peter for his correct answer, but warned them not to tell others – YET. There was still so much of Jesus’ ministry to happen – including his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
But, now is the time to tell! Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
There is still more to happen in the exciting timeline of Jesus. He will return to earth. He will judge the world and reign over God’s new creation. A time is coming when, “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11 NIV). Don’t wait until then to find out who Jesus really is! Don’t blindly accept what others say about Jesus . Sacrifice and follow him as the disciples did, night and day, look into the Scriptures that reveal who he is, ask questions. Keep searching until you can say with the confidence of Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And then, tell the world to prepare them for his second coming.
For a deeper study into who Jesus is, check out the following websites as they work through many Biblical texts and scholarship seeking a clear understanding of who Jesus is:
21st Century Reformation – 21stcr.org
One God Report (which also includes an excellent list of other helpful blogs, websites and podcasts) – OneGodReport.com
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway – Matthew 16, Mark 8 and Luke 9:18-27
Tomorrow we will continue on in each of these gospels with Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9:28-62.