Of all the questions that Jesus has ever asked, the one he asks today is perhaps the most important of all. “Who do you say I am?” What is your answer?
Matthew 16:13-20 - Who Do You Say I Am?
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on Matthew 16:13-20. Listen.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Of all the questions that Jesus has ever asked, the one he asks today is perhaps the most important of all. “Who do you say I am?” The question is important because our answer will determine how we respond to him. Let me explain. Before he asks this question, he asks the apostles another one. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” It was a purposeful question, as you will see. They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
If Jesus were here today and ask us that question, we might say something similar. “Some say you a prophet; others say that you are one god among many gods; still others say you are a fairy tale, a myth.” Now, see how each answer determines the response. If I believe Jesus is a prophet, I will — I might — give him the respect due a prophet, but not the reverence due to God. If I believe he is merely one god among many, I can take him or leave him. If I believe he is a myth, I don’t need to take him seriously at all. You see? Ok.
“Very well,” he says, “That’s who they think I am. But you; who do YOU say I am?” He is asking you that question now. Be careful how you answer because it’s a loaded question. What did you answer? Did you say, “You’re my Lord”? Well, if we call somebody Lord, then we are his subjects, yes? Consequently, we are obligated to do whatever he asks us to do, yes? The question is: Do we? So, if we don’t do what he asks us to do, then he is not really our Lord, is he? Think about this for a moment.
If we aren’t obedient to Jesus, then all our professions of faith, of our belief in Jesus as Lord, are nothing but platitudes — meaningless declarations. Which is why we need to examine what we believe (or profess to believe) anew. We need to examine who Jesus really is to us. Because unless we look at him as Lord, we will not take him or his words seriously.
Let us imagine Jesus asking us the question today: Who do you say I am?
May the Spirit be with you.