13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13-20
I’ve always loved this passage because Jesus starts with the easy question “who do others say…?” After getting some answers, he “turns up the heat” and asks “who do you say…?).
It is always easy to answer the first question. Even our youngest Sunday school students can give great answers to this question, for it is a question of orthodoxy. What does scripture say, what do our churches say about Jesus? How about our confessions of faith, creeds and other writings? Orthodoxy is easy, we turn to the “experts”, those who have reflected on our theology and passed it through the generations.
Yet the second question is the hard one for it is directed towards each disciple (including us). Jesus is not expecting the disciples to give the “Sunday school answer” rather he wants to know what they believe. Peter responds with his belief – “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Each day Jesus gives us an opportunity to answer this question, and we do it best by our living. If we hold it fast that Jesus is truly the Son of the Living God, we should live as He calls us to live, loving God, ourselves and each other.
As you travel through this new week, reflect on the question “who do you say I am?”.