I bet that this title made you think. In fact, I would be that this question makes you give a strong “NO!” or a curious “I hope not.”
That’s fair. That’s why I asked.
But make no mistake, my job today is not to confuse you. My job today is to focus on the 6 word question Jesus asked that is vital for our faith, and vital for ourselves.
In Mark 8:27, we see Jesus ask His disciples, “Who do people say I am?” Such a simple question, but one that would go on from that moment into eternity. It is a question that we need to wrestle with. But I tell you now, the answer is good news.
Let’s step back for a minute. I want to share a quick story with you.
I have had the privilege of being a professor for a number of years now. One of my habits on the first day of class is to ask if anyone has ever had me as their prof before. I absolutely love to see the hands go up. Then I say that I will introduce myself, but that I want them to introduce me first. I want those I have taught to tell the people, who I am.
It’s an amazing thing to do. I get to see all of the things they remember come up. It’s risky, but I love it. I get to be confronted with how others view me in front of those I have never met. I get to know how people see me.
This is kind of what we see Jesus doing in Mark. Make no mistake, I learned it from Him, not the other way around. We see Jesus with His close friends asking for their opinion on the public thoughts about Him.
Again, we see Jesus ask His disciples, “Who do people say I am?” Why did He do that? Was He confused about His identity, after all, just previous to this question, He had performed a miracle that apparently took twice to finish. Did Jesus question His abilities, and then His identity because of the moment?
Let’s look at the discussion.
After Jesus asked his buddies this question, they replied. “Some say You are John the Baptist; others say You are Elijah, and then even others say you are one of the other prophets.” Mark 8:28
What I find interesting is that Jesus acted in such a dynamic way, that people couldn’t get their head around who He was. They knew His earthly heritage, the carpenters son from Nazareth, but that answer just didn’t fit with how He was interacting with them.
When you meet Jesus and have a dynamic relationship with Him, others may not be able to figure you out too. That’s OK, it’s just an odd thing to get your head around.
People will try to label you with things they understand, much like they did with Jesus. They tried to summarize the person and experiences they had with Jesus with tying Him up into the magical mystical experiences they had had with some prophets of old. Even thought they knew it didn’t make sense, (after all John the Baptist was alive at the same time as Jesus.)
Jesus’ identity was safe, but He wanted to have His dearest friends express who He was. It was for them.
At this point, Jesus changed His question, and the answer is sweet good news. In Mark 8:29, Jesus then asks His disciples, “And who do you say I am?”
This was the moment of truth. So much came down to this answer. Thankfully, His boys got it right.
“You are the Messiah.” (Mark 8:29)
Jesus knew who He was. He wanted to make sure His closet friends knew too. But He didn’t want to have to tell them. He wanted them to see it.
Just like for me, If I told my new students who I was, it would not have impacted them as much as when I asked my old students, who I was. Their testimony of me was perhaps more powerful at that moment then my own words.
Your Good News Assignment.
Ok, now here is what I want you do with this.
- Find a quite place.
- Make sure you Bible is ready.
- Say some things your are grateful to Jesus for. It sets your heart up to hear.
- Then ask Jesus, “Jesus, who do You say I am?”
- Then listen. Wait. Keep waiting.
Jesus wants to tell you who He sees you as. But here is the good news, if you have asked Him to be your Lord, not even one negative word will come. He no longer sees you as sinner, but as a saint with bad habits. He sees you as perfect, He is just going to help you become more perfect.
If you hear negative words or think negative thoughts, that’s not Jesus at all. Ask Him to rescue you from them. Then receive the good words He has to describe you.
Here is my challenge to you. Let me know how He sees you. leave a comment, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesus’ identity is secure, now let’s keep working on yours. 🙂