Who Do We Say Jesus Is?
Chan Gin Kai
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” (Luke 9:18-20)
Jesus was praying in private and when his disciples joined him, he asked them a question about who the crowds thought he is. Jesus asked the question not because he was unaware or overly concerned about public opinion, but as a lead up to a more important question – “Who do YOU say I am?”
The popular opinion of the crowds was that Jesus was John the Baptist or Elijah, come back to life. It was ignorant of the crowd to name John the Baptist since Jesus and John were contemporaries. Their guess of Elijah was of course wrong too.
John and Elijah were national reformers who challenged the corrupt rulers of their day. Jesus’ fearlessness in calling out hypocrisy and preaching about righteousness could have made the crowds made the connection. Perhaps they were hoping that Jesus could manage to finish what John the Baptist failed to do, since John had died prematurely.
There were of course other opinions of Jesus – a rabbi, a healer, a blasphemer and more. But Jesus cares more about who his disciples think he is.
I care a little about how others think of me, but I care even more what my wife, my family and my closest friends think of me. It hurts a little if others misunderstand me, but it hurts a lot more when people whom I’ve cared deeply about and spent a lot of time with form wrong conclusions about me. All of us hope to be understood, especially by people we love.
Peter correctly answered Jesus, “God’s Messiah.” After walking closely with Jesus for some time, learning from Jesus, and witnessing all that Jesus has done for him and countless others, he concluded that Jesus is the prophesied Saviour. In a parallel passage in Matthew, Peter added that Jesus is “the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
Jesus cares who we think he is because we are his disciples. We have attended church, studied our Bible and prayed regularly. We have learnt about Jesus and seen all the wonderful things that Jesus has done for us and countless others. It matters to Jesus whether we understand him. But who do you say Jesus is? Who is Jesus to you?
How we behave towards Jesus reflects who we think he is. We may proclaim that he is our Lord, but do we surrender our lives to him? We call him our Saviour, but do we show him gratitude in our daily life? We say he is the Son of God, but do we tell others about his greatness?
If we’re not serious in our attitude towards sin, it shows we have taken Jesus’ sacrifice for granted. If we’re doubtful about his love, it shows we don’t really understand the cross. Big crowds met Jesus, but few really knew who he is. Do our actions reflect that we know him? We need to make an effort to really understand Jesus.
Who is Jesus to you? Who do you say Jesus is?
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".