When Jesus asks THAT question
Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?”
The question in Matthew 16:15 is much deeper than it appears. Jesus does not ask His disciples who they think He is. He doesn’t ask what they believe Him to be. Jesus asks who He is to them.
The question aligns us with the disciples because I believe Jesus asks this question not once in our lifetime but each day. “Who do you say I am?”
This is a very personal question, not a theological exam or pop quiz. When we turn to the synoptic gospels, we see that Peter, the unofficial leader of the twelve, speaks up first. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).”
This is not the first answer given to the question. After Jesus calms the storm, the terrified disciples in the boat proclaim, “Truly You are the Son of God (Matthew 14:33).”
After the feeding of the 5,000, Peter says, “…we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (John 6:69b).”
It takes Peter multiple times to give the answer. Should it take us any less?
Peter answers many times because I believe we are also supposed to answer many times throughout our lifetime. Why? Our relationship is ongoing.
Some of us want to glance or gloss over the question. Maybe Jesus isn’t really talking to us, we think. Maybe He doesn’t expect an answer NOW because seriously, our day is packed. Or it’s been a busy month, season, or time in our lives. There is always time to think about this later, right?
This question Jesus asks does require ongoing thought. Ongoing thought leads to ongoing discovery. Ongoing discovery leads to intentional faith formation and intentional faith formation is not just totally awesome in and of itself, it is necessary.
These twelve didn’t have 2,000 years of church history to confirm their faith. In a culture of the day that did not agree with them, and in an age when other teacher/preachers declared they were the true Son of God, they were the first to say, “Jesus is the One! He is the Messiah!”
This is true. We all answer. With every move, every decision, and every turn, atheists, agnostics, people on the fence and believers in all phases answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?”
As you look up from this column, look into yourself. Who do you say Jesus is?
Do more than consider the question. Actually answer it. Then, like the disciples, live into your answer with what you think, say and do.
Perfection is not required, practice and persistence is. The disciples were also known as the ‘duh-ciples’ because they did not understand Jesus’ life, death and resurrection 24/7/365. However, they did what you can do this Lent, and that is answer who Jesus is each day.