As Jesus was approaching the area of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Apostles an unusual question: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” They claimed they had heard people say that He was “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, and even one of the prophets.” (Matthew 16:13, 14) Notice that the names were of deceased people. It was basically an elevation of reincarnation. Instead of looking at the possibility of a uniquely living individual, people focused on the past and its possible effect on the present. There had been some speculation that Jesus might be the long awaited Christ, the Messiah, but it was more of a possibility than a statement of fact. To whom were the Apostles listening? It was almost like a poll taken by the liberal faction of the Jewish religionist. (Even today, polls tend to reflect the pollster and his pre-determined political leaning, rather than the actual consensus of the people.) I wonder if Jesus was a little surprised by the result of His inquiry. Jesus then hones in on what really matters: “But who do you say that I am?” Peter quickly responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15, 16) I wonder how many of His Apostles had publicly declared who Jesus really was. They assisted Jesus in His ministry, and even went out by twos healing and casting out demons, but is there any recording that they divulged who Jesus really was? As Jesus’ ministry gained momentum, He seemed to shield His identity due to the direction the crowds were taking. People were more concerned with miracles, signs, and wonders. Jesus realized that if the multitudes believed He was the Messiah, they would revert to their preconceived notion that the Christ would deliver them from Roman rule.
When is the last time we simply meditated on who Jesus is? When is the last time we focused on His personage, rather than the miracles? When is the last time we dwelt on His attributes, rather than on the benefits we received from Him? Let us spend a day just pondering on who Jesus is, and when we do, let us display to others the Jesus we have grown to know.
When Peter made his proclamation, Jesus told him that the only way he could know that was by a revelation from God Himself. (Matthew 16:17) The Apostle Paul stated that the Gospel he proclaimed was not a result of someone teaching him or of hearing it from some individual, but through revelation from God Himself. (Galatians 1:11-15) TRUTH IS REVEALED FROM THE HEART UPWARD, NOT FROM THE HEAD DOWNWARD. It is not horizontal, but vertical revelation that solidifies the Believer. When we reverse the procedure, we open the door to potentially misinterpreting God’s Word. When we start from the head, our feelings and emotions will have a strong influence. When Paul received revelation, he did not “confer with flesh and blood,” but obediently acted without hesitation. (Galatians 1:16) How many of us have questioned our own actions? One moment we are convinced of the validity of our actions, and within a short time we question if we are doing the right thing. When we act as a result of head knowledge, we will more than likely question some of our actions. May the Holy Spirit reveal God’s Word and, when He does, let us pursue life without a rear view mirror!