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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. 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.’ Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.”—Mark 8:27–30 (NIV)
Have you ever Googled yourself? Now, for us “regular folks,” doing a search likely won’t bring up much aside from some photos and social profiles, but for well-known people, it’s a different story. A quick search will usually tell them exactly what people are saying. And for the most part, it’s decidedly mixed with some love, hate, and a whole lot of nonsense.
In today’s passage, after two years of public ministry, Jesus asks His disciples what people are saying about Him. From the start of His ministry, He traveled around the Jewish countryside performing unbelievable miracles, sharing revolutionary teachings with unprecedented authority, gaining a following, and garnering buzz everywhere He went. In today’s lingo, Jesus had been trending for almost three years. So, we can say He was well-known.
Jesus—knowing the answer already—asks His disciples, “Who do people say I am?” Some thought John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets. But we know these weren’t the only things people were saying. Some Pharisees called Him an agent of Satan (Matthew 12:24), others called Him “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19 NIV). Just as today, the response was mixed.
Jesus then proceeds to a more personal question: “Who do you say I am?” Friends, you may not know this, but whether you’re a Christian or not, this is a question every single person will have to answer. It’s the most important question we will ever have to answer. It is the difference between life and death. Who do you say that Jesus is?
Here’s Peter’s response: “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29 NIV), “the Christ of God” (Luke 9:20 ESV), “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 NIV). The JFB Bible Commentary has this to say: “Feeling the light of his Master’s glory shining in his soul, he breaks forth . . . in the language of adoration . . . ‘Thou Art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!’ He first owns Him the promised Messiah; then he rises higher, echoing the voice from heaven, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ . . . and in the important addition, ‘Son of the Living God,’ he recognizes the essential and eternal life of God in His Son.”
After almost three years together, seeing all they’d seen, hearing all they’d heard, but more than that, simply being so intimately in His presence, how could they not be so convinced that Jesus indeed was the Savior of the world, God in the flesh, the Lord? And it’s the same for us! When we encounter Jesus through His Word, through the preaching of His Word, through prayer, through the testimony of His people, and through His power and Spirit, how can we do anything but worship Him for who He truly is?
PAUSE: Why does Jesus ask His disciples what others were saying about Him? Why does He ask them who they believed Him to be?
PRACTICE: As hard as this may be for some of us, particularly as the Western world grows more and more hostile towards Christianity, it’s important that we have conversations with those in our sphere of influence regarding who they believe Jesus to be. Why? Because their lives depend on it! So, this week, have a conversation with someone—a friend, neighbor, coworker, or family member. Ask them what they truly believe about Jesus and share with them who you know Him to be and why.
PRAY: Jesus, You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Savior, the King and Lord. You are my life, my peace, my strength, my hope, and my salvation. Thank You for coming to earth to satisfy the punishment of my sins and make a way for me to enter into Your kingdom as a beloved child and heir. I pray You give me the boldness and wisdom to have conversations about You with the people in my life. I pray You would use me to reach them with the truth, that they may know You as I know You. In Your name. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.