April 7th- But who do you say that I am?

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But who do you say that I am?

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still 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 Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And 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. And 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. I 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.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.   (Matthew 16:13-20 NRSV)

Jesus actually has two questions for the disciples. First, he asks them, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” and he is given a variety of answers. Then he asks the dearer question, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter names Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter gets it right, and so Jesus commends him, even promising that because of this, he will receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven. 

Long after Peter’s heartfelt profession, we have come to know Jesus as even greater than Peter could have imagined. For example, the word Messiah with the capital M means “the expected king and deliverer of the Jews.”¹ As clearly as Peter understands who Jesus is, Jesus ends up being so much more than that. He becomes an unexpected king and deliverer of all people. We have received so much more in Jesus than even Peter’s idea of a Messiah. 

It’s significant that Jesus first asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” For wasn’t this our starting point of knowing Jesus? We may have learned about him from our parents, teachers, pastors, or other mentors. We learned through their sharing of Bible stories and beliefs. We learned through their experiences of him in their lives. How others described Jesus helped form our initial understanding.

But Jesus then follows up with, “But who do you say that I am?” He wants to know what he means to us; who he is, what he has become for us. We have been given a foundation of understanding, but now we are called to answer him ourselves. My understanding of Jesus continues to evolve, and I imagine this will continue for my lifetime. 

Our heartfelt response to Jesus will come from our experiences of him, our relationship with him, and most of all, allowing him to reveal, teach, and inspire us with all that he is. We know Jesus best from his Spirit within us. As Jesus says of Peter’s response, “Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you.” God works in all of us to make Jesus fully known. 

Jesus goes on to tell Peter that he will have the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Peter will experience Christ’s presence- kingdom living- from that moment on. Why? Because Peter has opened himself to God’s revealing work and presence in Jesus. The keys to the kingdom are given to all of us when we do the same. 

Are you talking to ME?

Today Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?”

How would you answer him? What one word best describes what Jesus means to you? Has your understanding of Jesus changed over the years? How has your deepened relationship changed your understanding? Does your way of living and being reflect who Jesus is for others? Are you being invited to see Jesus in a new way today? 

But who do you say that I am?

 

 

¹https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

7 thoughts on “April 7th- But who do you say that I am?

  1. Karen, this is beautifully written. It is true the more we know Jesus, the fuller our understanding of him and his ways. I love the verse, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” And it is followed by my most favorite verse, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” ~1 Corinthians 13:11-12
    As we grow in our faith, we build on the foundation of the basics. We mature in our faith. Thank you for sharing! ❤️

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  2. I loved today’s ( love them all) If l must be limited to one word l would answer Him. Jesus you are my Life❣️ Without Him l would only be existing😢 Jesus is my Heart and Soul and the better l know Him the more l want to know Him!
    I was excited to be able to Join my church in Prineville through Zoom on Sunday! Earlier I discovered Resurrection Lutheran Church and my Pastor Mike Keys on U Tube and joined him for his Daily Bible Studies, a Lenten Service and Palm Sunday all at home from 430 am until 7:30 am, and I was “Fed” ❣️ Then l shared all this with Sandi Yesterday. What a Blessing the internet is! While we are home bound, we are able to come together!!
    Special Blessings to you and loved ones this Holy Week❣️🙏🙏🙏🤗

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    1. Jesus is truly LIFE, isn’t he? What a perfect word.
      Yes, this internet is such a blessing in these times- glad you are feeling connected in so many faithful ways. One day I hope we meet in person! Bless you, my friend! ❤

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