A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of the hustle and hum of everyday life, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a question Jesus asks His disciples in Matthew, Chapter 16, "Who do you say I am?" In the moment, it was a peculiar thing to be reminded of, but as I sat and studied the passage, I realized this is a question the Holy Spirit is asking us today. I also realized writing about this would result in something way longer than most people want to read, so Pastor Jeremy and I decided to break it up into a mini sermon series; you can consider this a little preview of the next couple of Sundays. Since we're previewing, let's take a quick look at the passage together.
Matthew chapter 16 begins with the Pharisees and Sadducees asking Jesus for a sign from heaven. Scripture doesn't reveal their exact motive for asking, but Jesus refused to entertain their request. In fact, He marveled at the fact that they could read the sky but not the signs of the times. Think about that. The religious leaders who had dedicated their lives to God's law were unable to recognize the word made flesh.
Not long after this encounter, Jesus asks His important question in Matthew 16:13-19:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
There is a lot wrapped in that short passage of scripture, and we see several points of view at play. Over the next couple of days, sit with this question and see what your heart honestly answers back. If you answer boldly and confidently as Peter did, do your everyday choices line up with what your heart confesses? If you are a little more cautious with your answer like the other disciples, it's time to figure out why.
I believe the Holy Spirit has great things in store for all of us, but I also believe He is calling us to a new level of faith. Let's keep growing and let this question strengthen you. We can't wait to share more about this word over the next couple of Sundays!