He [Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
In Matthew 16:15 Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus’s question is straightforward and demands a straightforward carefully thought-out response. What a person believes and says about Jesus is the most important question a person can answer—ever. A person’s confession concerning Jesus Christ is a matter of life or death. The only confession that saves someone from eternal hell is “Jesus is Lord” when that admission comes from a heart that truly believes in Him and who He is. It is remarkable the number of different opinions people have about Jesus. They range from the biblical declaration of Him being God in the flesh to those who deny He ever existed. Most fall somewhere in-between.
Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ) and Son of the living God was bold and uncompromising, just as ours must be. The title Messiah refers to the “Anointed One, promised Messiah from God.” Prophets, priests, and kings were all anointed when appointed to their offices. Jesus holds all three offices. Jesus gives every proof He is the Son of God—Messiah.
Many people don’t understand who Jesus is, even in a world filled with multiple media at one’s figure tips. They diligently seek for the truth by listening to popular opinions and then, like a puppy chasing a ball, follow it. They refuse to accept Jesus’ declaration that He is the truth. It is somehow easy for some to deny His truth for the pseudo-truth of man or various unbiblical denominations, each selling their version of biblical truth. However, the truth is they wrap the truth of God’s Word and who Jesus is with their honey-soaked sweetened versions of reality. In the end, they are nothing more than modern-day snake oil salesmen, stealing not your money but your soul, your eternity.
Many have opinions about Jesus but lack convictions, and it is their opinions that misguides them. The American writer Elbert Hubbard defined public opinion as “the judgment of the incapable many, opposed to that of the discerning few.” Which are you? Do you believe what you do base on yours or another’s opinions? If so, stop. God gave you a brain capable of understanding His truth. Is your belief in who Jesus is grounded in convictions base on proper discernment? This is a question you must answer unless of course, you choose to waddle through life chasing video game prizes and short-lived fantasy happiness. You can try all you want to avoid answering this question, but you will give an answer. Either you believe Jesus is who He says He is, or you don’t. Which is it?
Having confessed their faith in Jesus as the Christ, the disciples were ready for the “secret” Jesus wanted to share with them. Everyone loves to hear a secret, right? When Jesus told them that He must suffer and die, it shook them to their core. One can almost hear their mind spinning with a single question: “If Jesus is the Messiah, then why would He be rejected by the religious leaders?”
Well, true to character, it was Peter expressed their concern. At one minute, Peter confesses his faith in Jesus as God’s Messiah, the Anointed One. Then in the next, Peter was thinking like an unbelieving man and expressing the thoughts of Satan. He argued with Jesus, God’s One True Prophet, about how Jesus was wrong concerning His future of going to the cross. Peter’s actions here are a warning to us. When we argue with the truth of God’s word we open the door for Satan’s lies. Remember Adam and Eve debating with the serpent? Satan has one temptation he uses, and it is to get us to argue with the word of God. It worked with Adam and Eve, it worked with Peter, and it works with us today. Never ever argue with God's word.
But Peter does more than argue, he rebukes his Master. Peter’s protest was born out of his ignorance of God’s will coupled with his deep love for his Lord. He didn’t wish for Jesus to die. He wanted an earthly king. He was trapped by his temporal view of history, having lost sight of the eternal. Peter the “rock” became Peter the “stumbling block.” British evangelist Dr. G. Campbell Morgan said, “The man who loves Jesus, but who shuns God’s method, is a stumbling block to Him.” Followers of Jesus are not to be stumbling blocks. We are to trust Jesus to rule His creation in His time and in His ways.
Note that when Jesus rebuked Peter, He also “looked on His disciples.” Why? Because they too agreed with Peter’s assessment of the situation. They were immersed, having been taught from an early age, in the traditional Jewish interpretation of the coming Messiah, unable to understand that the Messiah could suffer and die.
This is the same folly of many modern-day Christians are deceived today, having been erroneously taught church tradition instead of true Christianity. Immersed in this “Churchianity” and its traditional, and wrong, interpretation of the Bible which at times runs contrary to God’s word, they miss what Scripture actually says. Do not be like that. Respectfully challenge those who say they speak God’s when what they are saying flies in the face of the Bible. Refuse to be drawn into a worldly way of thinking. Trust Jesus and His word!
You have two choices: Accept Jesus as God and Savior, or deny Him. The decision is yours. Accepting and believing in Him means you will follow Him through obedience to Him.
How would you answer the question, “Who do you say Jesus is?”
My answer to who Jesus is: Jesus is God, having presented Himself to humanity in fleshly form so that we might understand God in the person of His Son Jesus. He came to offer Himself as the only perfect sacrifice so that His chosen people would be reconciled to God. He is humanity’s only hope.