Our ladies mentoring group studied Matthew 16:13-20 recently. It’s the passage where Jesus famously asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” It’s a pertinent question and one that we all need to answer. Amongst all the other opinions flying around, Peter had the revelation of Jesus’ true identity: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”
You see, other people said that Jesus was John the Baptist or one of the prophets come back from the dead, which was purely speculation for it held no element of truth. Elsewhere in the Gospels, we see that some claimed He was a prophet (e.g. Matthew 21:11 and Luke 7:19), and plenty of people called Him ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Teacher’, showing that’s who they thought He was (Matthew 19:16 and John 3:2).
Yes, Jesus was a prophet, and He was a teacher. He was also a healer, a deliverer and a leader. But He was distinguished from others: plenty of prophets preceded Him, and they themselves pointed to Jesus’ coming; other rabbis taught the people, but none could match the authority by which Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-22); doctors did their best to heal the sick, but only Jesus could heal the incurable (Matthew 8:1-4 and Luke 8:43-48); others attempted to deliver people from demons, but Jesus delivered them all with the ‘finger of God’ (Luke 11:19-20); Israel boasted many religious leaders but none led by serving. Jesus was all these things, yes, but He was so much more!
Why is this important? Because without a revelation of Jesus’ identity, we will not see Him for who He truly is. Without the revelation that Peter had, we will reduce His identity to something less than that of the Christ (or Messiah), the Son of the living God. And how we see Jesus is vital to our relationship with Him. For example, if we view Him only as a teacher, all we’ll receive from Him is His teaching, and we might not even be able to understand it! But when we have the revelation that He is the promised Messiah, God’s only Son, we acknowledge that He is One sent to reconcile humanity with God, to bring us salvation. Then, we can live in harmony with Him in the way He had always intended.
If you’ve received the revelation of Jesus’ identity, like in Peter’s case, it came from our heavenly Father – let’s thank Him for it, and honour Him by praying for others who need that same revelation.
One final note – it’s only in knowing His true identity that we gain our true identity … more on that next time.
Love you! Alison.