Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” —Matthew 16:13–16 (ESV)
The question Jesus poses to His disciples in today’s text is a curious one. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Jesus refers to himself in a slightly indirect way with the title ‘Son of Man’. So essentially Jesus is asking His disciples how other people identify Him—‘who do they say that I am’?
So His disciples answer: “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” As you can imagine, some many months into his miracle-working and teaching ministry in Palestine, people had opinions about who Jesus was. News—and rumors—spread. The three options listed here were all prophetic figures, and Elijah was a figure thought to prepare the way for the Messiah, the promised Savior of the nation. Jesus then comes back to the disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answers with words that Jesus affirms: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter says that Jesus is the Christ—The Messiah, the David-like ruler who would rule forever as promised in Scripture. To call Peter’s response a loaded statement hardly does it justice. Nor can this short devotional do it justice. Jesus is not just a prophet. Jesus is not just a miracle-worker, a teacher. No, Jesus is the Christ, the savior of the world. And that makes all the difference.
Who do you say that Jesus is? Do you know Him as the promised savior? You likely do. But think of others God has placed in your life—your family, your students, or others. Who do they say Jesus is? Ask God to bring one or two to mind with whom you can share Christ in the next few weeks. As Jesus revealed who He was to the disciples—and called them to share that message with others—so we can continue sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.