Thursday, May 26, 2022

One Question Every Person Must Answer Himself: Have You Answered It?

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:13-16

“Who do you say that I am?” 

It’s the ultimate question every human being will have to answer for themselves.  

Just who is Jesus Christ to me?  

In fact, our destiny hinges on our response to this question.

The path of life we trod also hinges on it: one leads to a abundant life and fulness of joy; the other is a path to destruction - a path to be avoided at all costs.

Jesus eased into this question: He first asked His disciples what others thought of Him? 

That warranted an easy response.  

It’s always easier to answer for someone else!

Their answer didn’t surprise Jesus, He heard the undercurrent of rumblings.  

He simply used this question as a lead-in to the more personal question.  

"What about you," isn't quite as easy to answer...and, it's just so personal....
And, oh , my doesn't that question have the potential to offend!
So, if you're like me, you typically avoid it....but, NOT JESUS!
The risk of not asking it has far greater consequences...

The disciples quickly rattled off the names of some fairly well-known, and highly revered folks…men with fire and intensity, good men, prophets.  

Each of these men came preaching a highly-charged, volatile message that was pretty difficult for most people to swallow.  

These men were forerunners to the Messiah, but they were not the Messiah.  

The Jews were waiting, had been waiting, for hundreds of years, for the one who would come as Rescuing King, conquering deliverer, and essential High Priest.  

To the crowds, Jesus was just another prophet to be tolerated.

“BUT,” Jesus (again, not one to shy away from personal questions, when so much is at stake) asked.  “Who do you say that I am?”  

By this time, the disciples had spent about 2 ½ years traveling, talking, and being taught by the Master.  

The longer they were around Him, the more evidence He gave them that He wasn’t just an ordinary prophet.  

The more they observed His miracles, the more convinced they were that there was something of the DIVINE about Him.  

His life attested to His Messiah-ship.  

At the same time, there was something a bit confusing about Jesus.  

He wasn’t using His divine powers to overthrow the Roman-rule as they expected.  

He talked about going away, and coming back.  

He lived a life of servant-hood, not that of one who would be King; and He discussed with them the idea of “being lifted up,” which they all understood to be crucifixion.  

Would a Messiah subject Himself to such shame?  

So, there were doubts about Jesus they wrestled with, even while, at the same time, Jesus sought their allegiance.

I so love Peter!  Honest, vulnerable...impulsive.

He jumps right in, speaking for the group.  

His head knew the answer, even if His heart didn’t necessarily go along with it.  

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  

This was the first step Jesus’ disciples took toward a confession of faith; and, Jesus blessed the answer, stating that this response held the keys to the eternal Kingdom of God. 

His Kingdom without end... 

Later, following Jesus’ death, each of the disciples finally worked their faith from their heads to their hearts... 

As they "got it" (and wrapped their hearts around allegiance to Jesus), their lives forever changed...

All of us must come to the same Crisis of Belief, ultimately answering:
What will I do with Jesus?

What a reminder that we don’t have to have all the theological answers to surrender our allegiance to Jesus and confess Him as our Savior, finding salvation for our souls.  

Like the disciples, there may be many times we come face to face with a crisis of belief, but in the end, 

“He who begins a good work in us, will complete that work in the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).”  

This, then, is our jumping off place, the point on the cliff where we dive into the ocean of Jesus' "I AM" statements, and begin our exploration.  “Who do you say that Jesus is?”  

Is He your Savior? 

Or, is He just a good man with a hard message?  

We can’t explore the depths, unless you jump.  

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this – I believe with all my heart, Jesus is who He says He is:  my deliverer, the One who sets me free.  

I jumped, and He changed my life, 51 years ago. 

He began a good work in me.

One day, I know, He will complete it.  

To see more of KNOW Him intimately, we all have to take that leap of faith! 

I highly recommend jumping, because I know the arms of Jesus will catch you, too – 

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