Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

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” ‘But you,’ he asked them, ‘who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.’ ” Luke 9:20

That question echoes in my mind: “Who do you say that I am?” If I were Simon Peter, and Jesus the Messiah asked me that question, what would my response be? Peter answered it accurately. Jesus is God’s Messiah. Peter knew this. Ironically enough, in a matter of time, Peter would find himself standing at a distance, watching the trial of Jesus from afar, and deny that he was a follower of Jesus. In Jesus’ most painful and trying time draped in human form, Peter denied Him and turned His back on Him–and he knew who Jesus was. He was there with Jesus for the feeding of the five thousand. He witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus when Elijah and Moses appeared with Him. He watched Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Peter, with utmost certainty, knew Jesus. And Peter didn’t just know Jesus as his rabbi and teacher. No, Peter knew Jesus as a man. He knew His habits–that tendency of Jesus to rise early, escape the crowds, and pray to His Father in heaven. Peter knew what Jesus liked to eat and when He went to bed. He knew Jesus’ daily routines. Peter was Jesus’ friend. Peter laughed with Jesus and knew His sense of humor. Oh to have such intimate knowledge of the Savior of the world. When Peter answered Jesus’ question, Peter was confident in his response: “God’s Messiah.”

I have a soft spot for good ole’ Simon Peter. He was impulsive. He literally chopped off Malchus’ ear with a sword when they came to arrest Jesus (John 18:10-11–don’t worry, Jesus reattached his ear!) Peter represents to me so much of each of our own broken humanity. He is the walking depiction of the battle that rages between the flesh and the spirit. Peter loved Jesus and followed Him. Peter, when all was said and done, refused to be martyred in the same manner as Jesus and was crucified upside down. He was utterly human. And Jesus was infinitely merciful. Jesus knew all along that Peter would deny Him. On that very day, Jesus even told Peter, “Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31). Jesus demonstrated His grace to Peter before Peter even knew how much he would need it. Jesus allowed Satan access to Peter because there was something in Peter that needed to be gone so that he could be fully used in God’s kingdom work. And boy, did Peter ever use his sifting to strengthen his brothers.

In Matthew 16:17-18, when Jesus asked who they said He was, Matthew included this response of Jesus to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Jesus told Peter who he was, renaming him from Simon to Peter. Peter, Petros in the Greek, means “a specific rock.” Jesus was building his church upon the foundation of Peter’s confession, identifying Jesus as both the Messiah and the Son of God. Yet, mere verses later, when Jesus shared about His pending death and resurrection, Peter rebuked Jesus. Imagine! Rebuking Jesus! Oh Peter! Peter loved Jesus, followed Jesus, believed in Jesus, denied Jesus, rebuked Jesus, and Jesus used Peter as a foundational building block of His church. Only a beautiful and loving Savior could take all of that sinful humanity and pour out grace in abundance over that life, and use it powerfully for His kingdom’s purposes! Hallelujah–what a Savior!

There is something so precious to me about this conversation with Jesus. Jesus is asking His disciples who people said that He was, then followed it with the question of who they said He was. But, then, He looks at Peter and renames him, telling Peter who he is. In a world so fixated on our identity and our “truth” and who we are, how about the moment when Jesus swoops in and says, “This is who you actually are!” Glory be to God! Jesus sees us. He knows us. He calls each of by name. In fact, God says this in Isaiah 49:16, “Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” You are inscribed on the palms of the hands of God. Absorb that. Let it sink in.

The question before us today, then, is, who do you say that Jesus is? Do you call Him Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, but then deny Him with your actions, your words, your thoughts? Is He everything to you, or does He merely exist in the periphery of your day-to-day? I have been like Peter myself and denied Jesus over and over and over again with my action, my thoughts, my words. I have erected false gods and placed them ahead of Jesus in my life. I have claimed to follow Him and trust Him, yet lived within my western culture comforts. Like Peter, I have been through sifting seasons that have left me forever altered and more in love with Jesus than ever before. Sadly, my memory grows too short at times, though. Yet what I have not forgotten or lost sight of is how very much I have been forgiven by Jesus and His blood on the cross. And that is exactly why I love Him so much. He is everything to me, and my heart aches when I fail Him or place myself or my agenda ahead of His will for my life. Oh that my life, and yours, will reflect who Jesus really is–and may it not merely be with words, but in how we live our lives for Him. The Easter season is upon us. How do you answer the question with your life: Who do you say that Jesus is?

Published by Dawn413

Jesus is the lover of my soul. Throughout my life, in both triumphs and challenges, Jesus has shown me that He is the ultimate source of satisfaction. There is no other. I love words, and He has filled my heart with a passion for Him, His Word, and writing. I am a mom of both humans and furry canines. I love running, hiking, reading, the ocean, baseball, basketball. I love spending time with my friends and family and doing any activity that can include my pups!

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