It is pretty amazing that Jesus took the disciples to what was perhaps the most pagan and perverse place in the suburbs of the Holy Land to ask the question, “Who do you say I am?”
Caesarea Phillipi was not like a lot of places Jesus hung out. It wasn’t filled with pharisees and sadducees and all sorts of other traditional Jewish influence. It was where religion was idolatrous and immoral. It was a place that Greek gods ruled and rituals crossed lines most people cannot fathom.
The people here believed that the gates of Hades were here, that hell was just one step away and their world met the underworld.
Yet, Jesus chose this place to ask that question.
“Who do you say I am?”
It is so tempting for me to just say a few pious cliches and be satisfied that I have expressed what I believe to be true about Christ. But who do I really say he is?
My actions often betray my words. They deny the deity of Christ, deny the authority of his words, deny the fact that he died and rose again, deny, deny, deny.
It is almost as if who I really say he is becomes a mythical prophet that only exists in my mind and story books. Oh, i say he is the son of the living God but I act like he is just so many words on a page.
So, I think it is a good thing to sit down and define who he is and re-focus on what I really ought to be believing. It seems it gets watered down from time to time.
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus brought the disciples to a land full of gods made of metal and stone, a place full of faith in that which has no life, to graven images, to make it clear that he was the Son of the living God.
Peter said it out loud. This was the beginning of a brand new walk with Christ. He wasn’t instantly the poster boy for faith. In fact, he failed more than once after this moment. But it was the start.
Before I can take one step with Christ, I have to admit, confirm and place faith in the fact that he is alive enough to walk with me.
Sometimes it is time to get back to some basics, to look at who Jesus is in a bigger way than I have been, to realize he is more than I can imagine. I need to understand that my greatest understanding is still lacking and that there is more to learn about who he is.
So, today, in part one of this series of writings, he is the Son of the living God. I’ll move on to another facet of this series on Monday. There are other topics to touch on the rest of this week. Pray, that I can do this subject with the wisdom it deserves.