Who Do You Say I Am?
Scripture Readings: Psalm 46:1-7 | Deut 16:1-17:20 | Luke 9:7-27 | Prov 12:8-9
Scripture Focus: Luke 9:7-27
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” (Luke 9:18-20, NIV)
Jesus asks what is perhaps the most important question that can be asked, “Who do you say I am?” For the most part the crowds didn’t have a clue and even those closest to him seemed a bit confused. But impulsive Peter has it right this time: “God’s Messiah.”
All the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to this one who was the fulfillment of the promise: Jesus the Messiah. Yes, a prophet, priest and King—the ultimate expression of each—but yet he was more. Israel’s long awaited Savior, King and Messiah would one day rule in glory and every knee would bow and every tongue would confess; wrongs would be righted; The King of Kings would bring justice and rule forever. But first, he would “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Before the glory, there is the suffering. Before the exaltation, there is the humbling. Before the resurrection, there is the cross.
To answer the question rightly, to understand who Jesus really is, leads us down a similar path. In the words of Jesus: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
How does one answer Jesus’ Question, “Who do you say I am?” Jesus seems to imply that the real answer to the question is found not so much in words as in our commitment to follow him wholeheartedly—denying our selves and taking up the cross daily.