“When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ They answered, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ —Matthew 16:13–16
The most important question every soul will have to answer is presented here within our verses for today: “Who do we say that I am?”
In a remote area, with few followers around, Jesus was afforded the opportunity of private conversation with His disciples. He begins the conversation by asking the question “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Notice He does not ask who the Scribes and Pharisees say that He is, rather He is thinking of the ordinary people, those whom He has spent time with teaching and healing, those who have followed Him from town to town, those whom the Pharisees despise and feel are beneath them.
Jesus had not stated plainly to the people who He was, rather He had left it to them to understand His true identity by His words and by His works. Now He desires to know what they are thinking and saying. Obviously, there were many opinions! The disciples respond to His first question with an honorable and flattering—yet wrong—reply of John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. It is possible to have good thoughts regarding Christ, and yet have those good thoughts be incorrect thoughts. It is possible to have a high opinion of the Savior but not high enough.
In the books of Acts we read:
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” —Acts 4:12
Going deeper, Jesus wants to know the opinions of his disciples. Ever the spokesman for the group, Peter passionately pipes up with the precise praiseworthy words of: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s answer is brief, yet full, true, and to the point. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God!
Granted, Jesus’ disciples had been better taught than those in the crowds. By their intimacy with Jesus the disciples had a far greater advantage of gaining knowledge than other followers did. And so we see that those who walk closest to the Lord are able to have the truest knowledge of Him. And what we know about Christ we should never keep to ourselves. We are to be conduits of His truth, mercy, and grace to others. He pours his truth, and grace, and righteousness into us so that we, in turn can share it with others.
It is sad to the Lord Jesus when His followers do not seem to understand this key principle. I am reminded of His words to Philip:
“Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, but if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves.” —John 14:9–11
“There is no broadminded approach when it comes to entering into the life that God has for you. God doesn’t present you with a variety of doors to consider. He doesn’t say, ‘Go ahead and pick the door that looks best to you, and after you decide, I will support your decision and bless all that you do.’ It is true that God does have a plan and a purpose for your life, but it can only be entered into through one door. Jesus Christ is that door. There is no other entrance. There is only one Gospel to believe; only one Truth to embrace; only one Shepherd to follow; only one Savior to trust; only one Lord to serve; only one Master to obey.” —Roy Lessin
Who do you say that Jesus is?
was God spelling Himself out in language humanity could understand.” —S. D.