Matthew 16:13-20 - 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?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ.
It's an important question Jesus asks the disciples: "Who do you say that I am?" He starts with the easier question—what other people think—and gets the usual potpourri of answers. Of course people were speculating. And they were coming up with answers based on a combo of Jesus' miracles, wild rumors, and even prophecies they remembered from the Old Testament.
But the disciples stand in a better place to answer this question. After all, they've been living with Jesus for months, even years at this point. They have more to go on than just His public teaching and miracles. They've seen Him in daily life—how He reacts to annoyances, what happens when He's tired, what He does when someone the world considers worthless approaches Him for a favor. And so Jesus asks them, too: "But who do you say that I am?"
Peter, always the first to open his mouth, gives the answer: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus praises him! Not for being so smart or clued-in, however. No, He says to him that God the Father has given him this understanding and faith. Because no matter how well we think we know Jesus, it's going to take God's Spirit to give us the faith to truly grasp it: "Yes, this is our Messiah. Yes, this is the Son of God."
And Jesus faces us with this same question even today. "Who do you say that I am"—this ordinary hard-working Man, dusty from travelling, tired from teaching and healing, who speaks the words of God? This Man, beaten and humiliated, hanging naked on a cross? This Man, buried in a borrowed tomb? This Man, risen from the dead, never to die again—full of joy and promising everlasting life to everyone who trusts in Him?
And our lives answer Him: Yes, You are our Lord and our Savior, the One we count on in every time of trouble. You are the Son of God and the Son of Man, the One who rules the universe at God the Father's right hand. You are the One who is our hope and our joy even in the darkness, because You will never leave us and never forsake us. You are Jesus, and we are Yours.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, thank You for making Yourself known to me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Who do your friends think Jesus is?
2. How did you first come to know Jesus?
3. Why do you believe Jesus is who He says He is?
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