Matthew 16:13-15 - Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
It's a dangerous thing to pigeonhole people.
Great Britain's Sir Douglas Bader loved to fly. He was quite good at it until a plane crash prior to WWII cost him his legs. Those who loved Bader were sorry to see such a brave, bold man become earthbound and give up his beloved flying. Still, everybody knew his flying days were done.
Everybody knew this except Sir Douglas Bader.
Bader refused to be pigeonholed. He refused to let a small thing like losing his legs keep him out of the air. Bader had himself fitted with artificial legs and climbed back into the cockpit. In 1939, when Britain and Germany went to war, Bader thought his man-made limbs shouldn't disqualify him from flying in the Battle of Britain. Recruiters told him, "Piloting a plane in an aerial dogfight is something challenging.... Only the bravest, the boldest, the best and fittest can do that job."
Bader refused to be pigeonholed and eventually talked his way into the cockpit of a British fighter. Bader surprised everyone by bringing down 22 enemy planes before he himself was shot down over France in 1941. Bader survived the emergency parachute jump, but his artificial legs didn't.
Recognized as a hero in his native land, Bader was accepted as an honorable enemy by his Nazi captors. So great was the Germans' respect for Bader, they sent an unusual request to the British Government and asked them to airdrop Bader's spare set of artificial legs. The request was honored.
Of course, once more Bader refused to be pigeonholed.
As soon as he had strapped on his legs, he began planning his escape. Four times Bader tried to get away, and four times he was recaptured. Finally, Bader's jailers decided that every night, when Bader went to bed the prison authorities would take away his legs and lock them up; every morning they would return his artificial limbs.
It occurs to me the world has always tried to pigeonhole the Savior: "Aren't You a Samaritan, a devil, a blasphemer, a false teacher, a man possessed by a devil?" Those were the holes into which they tried to push the Savior back then. Today it is not much different. Today critics and scoffers ask, "Jesus, were You ever real? Aren't we right in saying You were invented by the disciples? Didn't You steal all Your teachings from Eastern religions? Didn't You fake Your resurrection after You revived in that damp, cool tomb?"
But Jesus won't be pigeonholed. After His death, His lifeless body was put into a borrowed grave. A seal was placed on the stone, a guard was set, and His enemies rejoiced that Jesus had become a failure. His dead body showed Him to have been a false prophet. But Jesus wasn't ready to be pigeonholed. Death couldn't hold Him in its grip. The grave's great stone couldn't keep Him from showing to all the world that He was exactly whom He had said: He was the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer, and our Friend.
THE PRAYER: Lord, grant that I may see the Savior of the Scriptures rather than the pale, pitiful Jesus humanity would like Him to be. Let me see Him, trust in Him, and have faith in Him, for in Him is salvation. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries