Two questions Jesus asks you
Jesus asks His disciples the same two questions He asks each of us (Mark 8:27-30). Timeless, the questions are significant because they reach into us as much as they did to the first who heard them.
As they’re moving from one city to another, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say I am?”
Understandably, the disciples’ answers are mixed.
Jesus could have opened a teaching moment with His disciples about plurality and how differing opinions are—or are not—okay. Because Jesus doesn’t stop the conversation here however, our author invites us to consider that Jesus is all right with people seeing him differently. [Remember this when you hear—or are a part of—heated theological conversation.]
This scripture does not record a pause after the first question because I believe The Son of Man has a second, far more intimate question. In the echo of Jesus asking, “Who do people say I am?” He asks, “Who do you say I am? [Emphasis mine.]”
There is a relationship between the two questions. If Jesus wanted to make a different point, He would have only asked the second question. This is why I am drawn to the conclusion that there is a relationship Jesus wants us to be aware of in what He asks first and then second.
What is that relationship? Like you, I can only guess, but I think Jesus wants us to be aware of “others” in the world in which we live. This could be because He wants us to enter into the world, though here He does not give the Great Commission for Christians to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
I think Jesus wants us to know where people are theologically. Because He doesn’t call His disciples to unite this diversity into one theology (or one common and shared belief system) at this point, I think He wants us to know where people are so we can meet them where they are.
Huh. Imagine that. Meeting people where they are.
There’s more. I suggest the first question helps us answer the second. Jesus wants us to know who people are so we can learn from others. (All of us have learning to do.) Jesus also wants us to meet and speak with others so we can answer His second question by discerning through others who Jesus is.
Even those who refute or ignore Jesus’ life and divinity are full of information about Jesus. Those who follow Christ can learn a lot about Jesus’ endless love when we look at those who dispel the sovereignty of Christ. I’m oversimplifying, but the lesson here is that Jesus loves those who do not love (or even like) Him.
Similarly, those who use Bible verses differently than you or I do should not be dismissed either. I am not saying you have to agree with them, but you don’t have to argue with them either. Instead, they can help us see Jesus not through our single lens because differing vantage points help us find our answers.
It can get dicey when someone is challenging our core beliefs. We can get defiant or defensive. Let’s not. Rather, I am encouraging all of us to hear what others think of Jesus so that we can determine ourselves, in the peace and the quiet of His presence, who He is.
I am not saying roll over and stay silent to blasphemous words against Jesus. I am encouraging more dialogue because Jesus can ask us what He first asked the disciples. “Who do people say I am?”
If you know what the world thinks of Jesus, you will certainly pray more effectively for the world to know Jesus.
This blog was first published in The Susquehanna Independent on September 19, 2018.