I just love the story in the book of Matthew when Jesus asks Peter, "But what about you?"... "Who do you say I am?" This verse carries such a tremendous weight. It is a pivotal, life-changing question for each and every one of us.
To back-track for a second, the chapter starts off with Jesus asking Peter, "Who do these people say the Son of Man is?" Peter replies saying the people think that John the Baptist, or maybe the prophet Elijah is the Son of Man, the long awaited Messiah of the Jewish people. Then Matthew 16:15 says Jesus asks Peter, "But what about you? Who do you say I am?" And Peter answers and says "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." How powerful is that!? Jesus does. not. care. what the crowds are saying about Him. He cares how each of us individually respond to Him. And Peter doesn't care what the crowds are saying about Jesus, he knows who his God is! What you think about God is the foundation for the rest of your life, so this question is absolutely crucial. I'll come back to that, but let me just quickly fill you in on my week so far...
Today was our first full day at the Redeemed Girl Institute in Destin, Florida and let me tell you it was absolutely incredible. The spirit of God filled that room and He spoke through every teacher in a powerful way. Marian taught on Matthew 16:15 and the importance of knowing who Jesus is as our Creator, God of the universe. She walked us through the prophecies of the Old Testament that foreshadow the coming of a Redeemer, a God who would put on flesh and come into this world to die for our sins, to reconcile us back to Himself. There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament. You can't read them and still doubt that He is the One true, sovereign God who came to put us back into a right relationship with God, the Father. You just can't argue it. It's mind blowing.
Anyways, it was funny because I had originally started a blog on this verse in May when the Lord used it to speak to me in a profound way, but I never finished it. Then of course, with perfect timing Marian taught it today. As I said before, its a pivotal verse because what you believe about God is the foundation of your life. If you don't believe in God, or you believe in a different god, your life is going to be radically different than if you know Jesus, the One true God. Jesus asks Peter this question to make a point. He wants to make it clear to us that we can't listen to other people's opinions. We are held personally responsible for making our own decision about who Jesus is. God requires a response. We can either reject Him or accept Him as our Savior. There is no neutral ground though. There is no room for passivity. Jesus is asking you right now, "But who do YOU say I am?" and your answer will change the course of your future either towards the glory of Heaven or the devastation of Hell. That's the truth.
Beyond the assurance of our salvation, this question is crucial to knowing truth about our identity and our circumstances. That is what God spoke to me in May... I was struggling and God just spoke to me in that verse and said, "Kelsey, Who do you say I am?" and I answered "Lord, you know that I know You are God. You know I love You." I was confused, because I had already made the decision that Jesus is God, so why would He ask me that? But God replied "You know I am God, but you have to make that decision every single day. Every day you have to get up and decide who is in control of your life, you or me? You have to get up and decide what You know to be true about my character." The Lord just convicted me of not truly knowing His character. I had been struggling with believing lies about the goodness and power of God. Every single day we have a choice to make. We have to ask ourselves, "Who is my God?" Jesus? Another person? A job? Who or what are you serving? We have to choose to surrender control to God, we have to choose to allow Him to work in us, and we have to choose to believe truth about who He is. If we truly believe that He is God, that He is perfectly good, that He holds all things together, that He can move mountains, then what is there to fear in life? Absolutely, nothing!
Not only our salvation, but every moment of our lives hinges on the question, "But who do you say I am?" My prayer is that we would know who He is, that we would declare His greatness and truly trust in Him as we come to know our God, Jesus.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg-- or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him, Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us."