Asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” on the street in most cities would rarely produce a clear consensus. No other name in history equals His influence, but there are still various opinions of Christ. It’s interesting how little that’s changed in 2,000 years. The crowds following Jesus didn’t have a clear answer either. Asking them the same question would probably have gone something like this:
“Excuse me Jedidiah, who do you think this teacher named Jesus is?”
“Well, I’m not really sure, but they say He’s some kind of new Prophet.”
As a matter of fact, the scripture demonstrates it:
13When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-17 NKJV
So yeah, confusion about Christ isn’t exactly breaking news, but understanding it helps us see spiritual conversations in a broader context. Consider three thoughts regarding Jesus’ questions:
I. Opinions Change
Public Opinion on anything lasts about as long as a 5th grade crush. Everyone aroundPalestine was forming opinions. From political savior to a back-from-the-dead prophet; He was labeled many ways…even theGallup folks would’ve struggled to figure it out. Remember how the crowd went from shouting “Hosanna!” to “Crucify Him!” within a week’s time…wow!
Regardless of method (personal, corporate worship, written word) the gospel has to be received individually, not as a group. Yes, groups of people have heard, and responded, but life-change happens at the personal level. Naturally Jesus knew what people were saying. He wasn’t attempting to be “relevant”…He was setting up a significant teaching moment.
II. The Question of Questions
Who do YOU say that I am? It really comes down to that…our response in the most personal place of our being? The Bible tells us Jesus not only accepted Peter’s confession, but also explained that God revealed the truth to him. The fact of it not being the result of Peter’s intellectual pursuit helps us know how to pray:
- When studying God’s Word, understanding comes by His revealing.
- Praying for others involves asking the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to them.
- Sharing Christ includes staying in step with the Holy Spirit, not my own timeline, agenda or motives.
III. Who does my life say Jesus is?
Do my spoken words and life match? I’ll be honest, that’s a tough one. Speaking about Christ is one thing, but asking folks around me to describe the Jesus my life communicates is another. What if my co-workers wrote down the characteristics of Jesus based on the language of my life? Worse yet, what if they asked my family? I can’t sing and call him Lord on Sunday, then ignore Him on Monday without it being noticed.
Thankfully, my relationship with Christ isn’t based on effort, but my effort should be based on my relationship. It’s not about perfection, but authentically living out the truth He’s revealed to me. Jesus by the polls gives mixed results, but a changed life declares the truth of a Savior who we know is the Christ, the Son of the living God!
For a brief overview of the uniqueness of Christ, this post may help:
Series: “The Questions of Jesus” Lesson VII