The disciples answered with a variety of names derived from a mixture of ideologies. “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14).
Then Jesus turned to His disciples and asked a simple yet most profound question: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
Most everyone has a favorite scripture. This is one that I call my “signature scripture.”
Several years ago, I found myself in a place of searching. I had known and revered the Lord since I was a small child, but as an adult I had grown complacent in my faith walk. Frankly, I had become quite stagnant, but God had already begun a work in me, beckoning me to draw closer. I prayed and asked that God would create a hunger in my spirit, not only for His Word, but also for the things of God.
I dusted off a Bible I had received as a gift years earlier and developed a plan. I was going to start with the New Testament, beginning with Matthew. I was already familiar with many of the stories, but I noticed as I continued to read that something else was happening. As if a veil was lifting from my eyes, my understanding of what I was reading was changing, and halfway through the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, a light came on!
“But who do you say that I am?”
The words nearly leapt from the page. I could not go any further. I hung on those eight tiny words.
“But who do you say that I am?”
I sensed the Lord was asking me directly the one truly revealing question of where I was in my walk with the Him. Confronted by the shallowness of my own life, I contemplated the depth of that simple yet profound question.
Who did my language say that He was? Who did my thoughts say that He was? Who did my actions say that Jesus was? Everything I said or did, I realized, was a reflection of who Jesus was in my life.
I had been guilty of putting Him in a box, pulling Him out on Sundays, and using Him only in the case of emergencies. My heart was heavy from the weight of my superficial faith.
However, joy and restoration came as I read the next two verses. Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Jesus answered, saying, “Blessed are you, Simon, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
In that moment I knew beyond any doubt that, just like Simon Peter, God was revealing himself to me in a way that would affect me forever. That tiny, simple scripture held a mirror to my soul and became the springboard of my faith.
Jesus knew the heart of Simon Peter; He wanted Peter to know too. The same is true for each of us.
But who do you say that He is?
Your Word, O Lord, lifts the veil from our eyes and reveals the mystery of Christ to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Forgive us, Father, for the complacency in our lives that has blurred our walk with You. Thank you for restoring our spiritual vision that we might see the kingdom of God. Reveal to us those things that have kept us from living a life that truly reflects the character of Christ. Empower us by the Holy Spirit to be bold witnesses for You. In Jesus’s name, amen.