Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:13 (NASB)

Some things demand to be explained! Jesus demanded to be explained! Everyone had an opinion about Jesus. Some thought he was an incredible man from God, and he did incredible things to help the hopeless. Some were amazed by his teachings and the way he presented them. Some were curious. Some saw him as opportunity to be exploited. Some thought he was dangerous. Some thought he was disastrous to Israel and must be destroyed. However, everybody in Israel thought something. He was not a nobody!

Thus he asked the twelve near Caesarea Philippi, “How do people explain me? Who do they say I am?” He knew people talked about him. He likely even knew who people thought he was. He certainly knew who he was. Then why did he ask the twelve what people were saying about him? Why? It was time for the twelve clearly to know who he was. It was time for them to understand the meaning of his identity.

They could learn quickly that he was God’s Christ. They would not understand for more than a month after his death what it meant for Jesus to be God’s Christ.

People always have an opinion about Jesus’ identity—including you! It is likely if you had no opinion, you would have no interest in reading this. Your opinion may be good, neutral, or bad. However, 2000 years after his death and resurrection, you likely have an opinion about Jesus’ identity.

What is your opinion? Was he a slick, polished deceiver? Was he a curiosity who captured his audience’s imagination? Was he someone who just happened to be born at the right place at the right time? Was he the imagined invention of others? Was he God’s son who actually defeated death and Satan?

For us, will earthly opinions about Jesus always be a matter of faith? Yes! Regardless of your conclusion, you believe. Christianity rests on the faith of the person.

In the resurrection, all will know who he is. The essential question: Who is he to you?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 12 December 2010

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