Who do you say that I am?
People have always been deeply divided as to who Christ really was, and is. The people of Jesus’ day had many different views of who He was. Some, including Herod, believed that He was John the Baptist, risen from the dead. Others, no doubt recalling the prophesy that Elijah would precede the Messiah, thought He could be Elijah. Still others thought of Him as a prophet or a teacher. Many, however, believed that He really was the Son of God made incarnate.
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” NIV
Their attitude towards Him depended upon the attitude of their hearts.
Andrew and Nathanael were among the first to acknowledge Him as Messiah, as the Son of God (John 1:42 & 49). Others like the Canaanite woman or blind Bartimaeus called Him by His messianic name – the Son of David – and therefore recognized Him as the rightful ruler of Israel. Of course, the Pharisees and the Sadducees who despised Him thought of Him as an imposter, a mere Galilean. I am sure there were lots of others who had no opinion at all…they remained spectators till the end.
Jesus personalized the whole debate about who He was by asking a pointed and direct question to His disciples. “Who do you say that I am?” He asked them. In other words, He was saying to them that He knew what people were saying of Him but what really mattered to Him was what they, His disciples, thought of Him. Did they believe that He was really the Son of God as He had declared to them or did they too have their doubts? Perhaps they had heard what the Pharisees and the Sadducees were saying about Him and doubts had arisen in their own minds.
Jesus’ question, “who do you say I am?” still reverberates throughout history and it confronts us still. People still stumble over it. And even we who call ourselves His followers need to hear that question from time to time because it is easy to miss the point of what He was saying.
You see, if we truly believe that He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, then we must honour Him, worship Him and obey Him as God. If we confess Him as God, can we then refuse to obey Him and allow Him to be Lord over every aspect of our lives? Can we acknowledge Him as Saviour and then not yield our all to Him? If we acknowledge Him as Lord, what excuse can we have of not yielding our all to Him?
And another thing: what you truly believe about Him will determine how you relate to Him. Notice how those who questioned His deity or considered Him a mere prophet received nothing from Him. They stood near Him but were crippled by their unbelief and doubt while all around them the sick were being healed, the lame were getting up and jumping for joy and the lost were being saved. These who were being blessed were the same ones who called Him the Son of David and worshiped Him as the Son of God. They ran after Him. They strained to hear every word He spoke. They welcomed Him and washed His feet with their tears.
Who do you think He is? Do you confess Him as Lord but hold back from worshiping Him with all of your heart and mind and strength? Do you acknowledge Him as Saviour but refuse to yield to Him in every area of your life? You confess Him as Lord with your lips but what about your heart?
He is the Lord. He is worthy of everything that we have to offer. He is worthy of all our praise and worship. He is the Lord and we need to yield completely to Him. And upon that acknowledgement and confession of His Lordship, we stand strong in all the seasons of life. Out of that will flow faith to believe in every situation, help in times of trouble, healing for our sickness, provision for every need and faith to endure till the end.