On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” –Mark 8:27-29
In his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer made this insightful comment, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”¹ In essence he was saying this: What you and I think about who God directly influences how we live and interact with our Creator.
If we view God as some sort of judge, overseeing a kind of proceeding in a cosmic court case, doling out “justice” as people deserve, we will oftentimes live in fear, trying to hide our weaknesses and faults. We’ll live hoping and praying that the “judge” does not see who we really are, or we will face His wrath.
If we see God as an eternal ATM of blessings, where all we need to know is the right PIN number in order to “get what’s coming to us,” then we’ll approach our “spiritual life” as a way of “getting it right” so that God will open His account of blessings and shower them upon us.
Sometimes we see God as some sort of benevolent grandfather, whose job is to give us what we want, when we want it. And when things don’t end up working out as we want them to, we blame God, our heavenly grandfather, who has not come through on His job description.
Jesus knows all this. This is why He enters into the discussion with His disciples. First, he asks a broader question, “Who do people say that I am?” But this is not really His point. Like the master teacher he is, Jesus is looking for something much larger than the popular opinion of who He is. “Who do you say that I am?”
And this is the most central question in life, is it not?
Who do you think Jesus is?
Now before you answer that question, consider this: How you answer this question could change the way you live your life. If Jesus really is who we as His followers claim Him to be, it could change everything. In other words, if you could go along business-as-usual with your life, perhaps you may need to revisit who you really think Jesus is.
If Jesus is God, if He truly is God incarnate — then the things He teaches us, as well as the kind of life He lived, are to be emulated. If we truly call ourselves followers of Jesus, then our job is to… well, actually follow Him, orienting our lives around the way He lived and what He taught.
Who do you say Jesus is? What does the way you live your life say about what you truly believe the answer to be?
The way you answer that question could change everything.
Take a few minutes to ponder the question, “Who do you say I am?” How does your life need to change in order to align with what your answer may be?
Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 6:46
¹A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1961. p. 1.