SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
Passage: Luke 9:18-20
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
“18 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
19 So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”
20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”
Memory Verse Matthew 16:16 (NIV)
SIMON PETER ANSWERED, “YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”
Different people have different opinions concerning who Jesus is. Some think he was a good man. Others think he was a wise man. Many also think he was a prophet just like Moses, Elijah or even Mohammed. Some Jews believe he was an ordinary rabbi who lived in Palestine in times past. Many Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God.
These varied opinions people have concerning the person of Jesus is not different from what used to be the case when Jesus was alive. This is what prompted the Master to ask his disciples about who people said he was. In this edition we want to learn some lessons from Jesus’ interactions with his people concerning who he is.
Jesus came into the world to teach about the Kingdom of God and to reconcile men to God. This was done through teaching, healing, preaching and exorcising of demons. He had set times for the beginning and the ending of his ministry on earth.
He had won many converts and admirers in the course of his three years ministration because of the many good things they saw in him. At the same time he had made lots of enemies for himself because of certain statements of his which made some think he was blaspheming. This mixed reactions towards Jesus ministry made him realize the misunderstanding people had concerning him. He knew very well that even though many had heard him perform miracles and teaching powerfully, they still did not know exactly who he was.
So on one occasion when he was praying with his disciples alone, Jesus asked them who people said he was. His question does not mean he did not know who people thought he was. He wanted to be sure of how well the people knew him. The answers given by the disciples in Luke 9:19 clearly shows how poorly people knew him in spite of the fact that he had been ministering in Palestine for about three years.
I am not sure Jesus was happy about who the people thought he was though he was not surprised. Jesus is not one of the prophets, or John the Baptist or Elijah who had come back to life as some of the Jews were looking forward to. Yet, that is the person many people thought Jesus was.
How sad it is to know that the people you have been living and ministering to for some years still lack vital knowledge about you? It is however not surprising because this is exactly what is happening in our times. There are many people who claim to be Christians but do not know exactly who Jesus is.
They attend church services alright, pay their tithes and offerings, sing, play musical instruments, pray and even preach yet do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and savior. This is pathetic. Jesus is expecting that after everything we have read and heard about him, we would have known him better in order to make him better known.
He is expecting that many will allow him to be their King and rule over their lives. He is expecting us to trust him with our whole lives and rely on him always. But this has not always been the case.
I want to ask you how well you know Jesus.
Do you also know him as only a miracle worker or only a problem solving God? Do you know him as your Lord and Savior? Do you trust him enough to have put your whole life under his control? How well do you know Jesus?
After his disciples had told him who people said he was, Jesus then asked those he had lived with for about three years almost the same question. Jesus asked, “What about you? Who do you say I am?”
This was to know how well his own disciples knew him. It was at this juncture that Peter, representing the rest of disciples, made a very important statement to affirm the deity of Jesus Christ. According to Peter, Jesus is the Messiah. This means Jesus is the Christ or the Anointed one of God.
St. Matthew gave a longer version of Peter’s confession as we find in the memory verse. According to Peter, the disciples, unlike the other people living in Palestine, had a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. According to the disciples, Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living of God. This shows that Jesus was not a human prophet or the forerunner of the Messiah, he is the Messiah himself. It is obvious Jesus was very satisfied with the answer Peter gave. Once again Matthew gives us a longer version in Matthew 16:16-20.
“16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” Matthew 16:16-20.
It is very important to understand that Jesus expects those of us who have been called and saved by him to have a better understanding of who he is. This is important because our knowledge about Christ determines our attitude towards him.
If you do not know Jesus well, you cannot relate well with him. Let us therefore make conscious efforts to learn and know more about Jesus. If we know him well, it can help us to love and serve him better.
May the Lord Jesus Christ open our eyes, ears and hearts to be able to gain deeper knowledge about him which could help us to love and serve him better! It is my prayer that believers will not have sketchy knowledge about Jesus but a deeper knowledge beyond what the world knows which can translate into improved relationship with him!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.