who do you say that i am?
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?"  And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets."  And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ."  And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.this passage is mark 8.27-30. i am convinced these days that everyone has an opinion about who jesus is just like they did in the first century a.d. "who do people say that i am?" in today's day and age, we might answer jesus by saying,
some say you were a moral upstanding guy. you were a great religious leader, on par with muhammed, ghandi and buddha. others say you never existed, that the historical data just doesn't stack up.but you know, the thing with jesus, is that it never matters what others say about him. he confronts us with the real issue, "who do you say that i am?" that's the question we must all be confronted with today. not who is jesus to everyone else so i can jump on the popular band-wagon, but who is jesus to you. the bible doesn't allow us to choose our jesus.
i don't know about you, but i get pretty pissed off when people put labels on me. when people try to classify me according to some stereotype. i want to define who i am and express myself the way i want to express myself. i don't want others telling me who i am. but when it comes to jesus, we all think we can decide for ourselves who he is. what about who he said he was.
interestingly, it wasn't until the very end of his life that jesus actually admitted publicly to being the son of god. but he didn't have to. his life spoke for itself. when peter made the declaration about jesus being the christ, he did so based on what he had been seeing jesus doing. this is why jesus' question is so relevant for us today.
this guy is mysterious. he turned water into wine. he said that he would destroy the temple and raise it up again in three days. he healed sick people. he cast out demons. he walked on water. he calmed the stormy sea. he spoke with authority. he didn't just talk the talk, but he walked the walk. this is the jesus we are confronted with. "who do you say that i am?" we can only answer this in one of two ways:
- we either have to confess with peter that he is the christ; or
- we have to say he was a lunatic and liar, but by answering this way, we have to seriously reject the data available.