Feb 8, 2015

“But what about you?  Who do you say I am?”

This was the question Jesus asked His disciples as part of an interchange recorded in Matthew 16:13-20.  He had just opened the discussion up with a less threatening question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

I bet the disciples liked this first one more, don’t you?

It certainly seems that way.  When Jesus asked the original question, He put it to all of them, and they all seemed to take part in the different responses.

“They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

So far, so good, right?  No problem.  But then Jesus “left preaching and went to meddling,” as the saying goes.  And instead of a nice, non-threatening discussion about what different people in different places believe about Jesus, the Lord hits them with the call to examine their own feelings about Jesus.  And even worse, say out loud what they truthfully believe.

“But what about you?  Who do you say I am?”

And they understood, because while all of them were ready to contribute what others believed, it seems only one was quick to confess what he himself believed.  That one was, of course, Peter.  He seems to always speak up, or act up, but not always appropriately.  This time, however, Peter was right on the money.

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’”

Yes, Jesus acknowledged that Peter had help in the form of a special revelation.

I wonder, if it hadn’t been for that, if any of them would have responded.

We are kind of like that, aren’t we?  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather talk about other people’s faith and beliefs—and faith struggles—than my own.  I’m not threatened at all talking about this interchange between Christ and His disciples almost two thousand years ago.  And I’m not even anxious when discussing how people respond to Jesus and His teaching today.  I imagine you feel the same.

Yet we know that Jesus doesn’t let us off with that today, any more than He did with those disciples two thousand years ago.  The Lord confronts us—you and me—with the very same question today.

“But what about you?  Who do you say I am?”

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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