In Matthew 16, Jesus is being pressed by the Pharisees and Sadducees for proof of his divine nature, asking for signs from heaven. It says they asked for one, but let’s be honest, they probably asked for far more than that. Jesus then has a conversation about the Pharisees and Sadducees with his disciples. He goes on to ask them, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (16:13). They throw out a spattering of familiar names, Elijah, Jeremiah or even John the Baptist. Then Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?” (16:15). Peter responds, “You are the Messiah”, a proclamation for the ages! Peter has identified who Jesus is to him, out loud to Jesus and his friends.
There are a number of fascinating facets to this passage, but one I want to focus on is Peter essentially proclaiming his faith. At some point or another the term “share your faith” has come up in church and each of us has been challenged to do so. I use the word challenge because for many, it is difficult. We’re often not sure exactly what to say, worried that we may end up saying something wrong and becoming a heretic *gasp*! This very question is a helpful starting point for how we share our faith with others, by first identifying what Jesus means to us.
For me, Jesus is my identity. I have a tendency to get to wrapped up in what I am doing well or what I have done wrong. My worth and my value get so wrapped up in who I am that I could never possibly measure up, nor could I ever dig myself out of the holes I put myself in. Remember what Paul says in Ephesians 1, “In Him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.” My identity was already determined LONG ago. I get the privilege and freedom of wearing the seal of the Holy Spirit, the sacrifice of Jesus, the love of the Creator, not my own faults or accomplishments. Admittedly, I struggle to remember this at times, and yet it is foundational for my faith story.
How would you answer this question right now? I want to encourage you to take some time this week to answer this question, and then answer it publicly. Share it in a Facebook post, text a friend, or tell someone during your weekly activities. Who do you say Jesus is?