Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: QUESTION (S) (05/30/19)
- TITLE: A Four-Fold Question
By Donna Powers
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Jesus asked Simon Peter a seemingly simple question: “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered with discernment. Peter didn’t hesitate. He spoke boldly and without hesitation. Jesus was “the Messiah,” Peter declared; “the Son of the Living God. “ (Matthew 16:15-16)
Jesus was pleased with Peter’s declaration. He acknowledged Peter’s faith, but He also knew Peter hadn’t figured the answer out on his own. He knew the answer had had to be delivered to Peter by the Holy Spirit, because the knowledge was beyond the scope of a man of that time and culture.
But I believe this question had much more significance than its face value - both for Peter and for those of us who follow Jesus today.
When we first accept Jesus' grace, we too must answer this same basic question. To accept His grace, we must identify Jesus as God’s Son. But to also live the life we are then called to live, we must see the further implications of this question.
For example, with this same question, Jesus is asking us not only ‘who do you say that I am?’ (how do you identify Me?) but also “who do you believe I am?” Identifying Jesus is a beginning; but using that identification to transform our personal inner mindset is even more significant.
In the original question, Peter said two separate things. Peter said Jesus was the Messiah (he identified Him as the Promised Deliverer) and he also said Jesus was the Son of God. It is this second statement that required a leap of faith; Peter was saying Jesus was the Deliverer because He was God.
Many Jews of that time believed the Messiah would be a human warrior or a king; someone who could rescue them from oppression. But Peter was able to depart from this mindset and declare Jesus for Who He was and still is.
So we also are called to not only accept Jesus’ Grace, but His Lordship. And then we can consider yet another version of the question: “who do you declare that I am?” Once we stake our souls on our belief in Him, we are then asked to “declare with our mouth” that Jesus is Lord. (Romans 10:9)
An even more significant way the question could be asked is, “Who do you act like I am?” Saying and believing Jesus is Lord and even telling others He is our Lord can be easily negated to those who might see or hear us acting or speaking in less-than-Christlike ways. Those of us who say He is our Lord should take care to grow to become like Him.
Take a moment, today to ask yourself: "how do I answer Jesus’ ancient question?" And, for your faith's sake, be sure you answer it completely.
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