Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 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.”
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.
Over the last couple of days I have been suggesting we look at Jesus again, even to the point of wiping the slate clean and starting afresh. Some folks asked me why. This is the reason. 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.
Today is the feast of Peter and Paul, two of the greatest apostles who ever lived. They took Jesus seriously. Peter and Paul both acknowledged Jesus as Lord, and everything they did reflected that. The reason we have these “feast days” is not to just honor them, and wish each other “Happy Feast”, but to be encouraged to follow in their footsteps. Let us do that, leading lives of obedience to Jesus. And, even if nobody notices us here on earth, let us be assured our names will be written in the book of heroes in heaven.
Let us imagine Jesus asking us the question every day: Who do you say I am?