Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” Luke 9:18-20
As I have written before I identify with Peter more than any person in the New Testament. Peter makes mistakes. He rushes off halfcocked. He is impulsive and he had doubts. But in today’s verses he is spot on. When Jesus asked the disciples “Who do the crowds say that I am?” they gave the answers we had seen before. Jesus was Elijah or John the Baptist come back to life or another of the prophets of old come back to life. But when Jesus asked His closest followers who did they think He was. Only Peter had an answer.
Mathew records that after Peter’s answer Jesus said “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17 ESV) Peter showed great insight this time. However later Peter would deny Jesus and after the crucifixion would go into hiding. Yet after the resurrection Peter would be reborn as one of the two greatest evangelists for the new church. It was Peter’s preaching at Pentecost that brought thousands to Christ. It all started with this one question, “who do you say that I am?”
It is that question and the answer that separates Christianity from all other religions. Unless one accepts that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, then you are not following Jesus but some manmade image of Jesus. The Mormons follow Jesus. They will tell you Jesus is in the name of their church. But the Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible but just one more on their pantheon of gods. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in a Jesus believe that is God’s only direct creation not God. Islam recognizes Jesus but only as a great prophet second only to Mohammed. Many believe Jesus was a great teacher and some that He never existed at all.
For the Christian Jesus is God, the promised Messiah and God’s perfect unblemished Lamb. It is the sinless life, the sacrificial death on a cross and the bodily resurrection that makes the Jesus of the Bible so much more than what all other religions believe He is. Son of God, Lamb of God, Savior and Redeemer all rolled into one. Fully man and fully God, that is Jesus. Peter recognized that early in Jesus ministry and then once again after Jesus resurrection. “The Christ of God.”
Have a blessed day,
PS Wednesday marked the fourth anniversary of my first blog post. In that time I have written over 900 of these short essays as well as some longer series. The daily essays are my thoughts and what I have learned about the verses for that day. I hope that they give you some food for thought and hopefully cause you to explore the verses in more detail.