“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, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! (Matthew 16:13-17)
One evening I was coaxed to climb a tree and enter a tree fort that some of the older kids in the neighborhood had built. Once there, I thought it was as cool as cool could be. But when it was time to leave, I looked down and suddenly the ground seemed to be 4,000 feet beneath me. My mom had had to come and help me down. Afterwards my parents made two comments that I heard a lot in my early life (and you probably did too); the first was the simple: “Didn't we tell you not to do that?” Now, what they said was in the form of a question, but we all know it’s really a statement.
“Then why were you up there?”
“Mike told me to.”
And then came second comment: “So, if Mike told you to jump off a bridge would you?!" I knew this question too, wasn’t really a question, but so as not to get into trouble, I answered with a “no.”
As an adult now, I see those questions were really statements of authority; in other words: “Who was I going to listen too? Mike or my parents?”
Today Jesus pins the disciples against the wall with the same logic my parents used on me as a child. After spending over two years together, Jesus asks, “Who do people say that I am?” After they answer that question, Jesus comes back with the real question: “But who do YOU say that I am?” Jesus’ question is really a question about authority. For when they answered that they believed Jesus is the Messiah, they had declared WHO THEY WOULD FOLLOW AND LISTEN TO IN THEIR LIVES.
“Are you going to listen and follow Mike or your parents?” -- “Are you going to listen to, and follow, the world or the Messiah?” It’s really the same question.
So let Jesus ask you this question today: “Who do you say that Jesus is?” If you say “the Messiah,” (which I hope you do!), please know that you have made a decision on who you are going to listen to and follow ALL the days of your life. This question of authority is a big question with a lot of ramifications!
When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, Jesus said, “You have no authority over me.” This shocked Pilate because he knew he had the power to send him to his death. And he did. But Pilate’s authority wasn’t the last word. We find that on Good Friday, sin didn’t win, and on Easter Sunday, death didn’t win. Jesus proved his authority over Pilate and death.
Yes, sometimes things seem out of control, but rest assured someone is in charge, someone does have the ultimate authority. And the good news is, his name is Jesus. So, rest secure; follow his ways, listen to his voice, and know, all will be well.
~ God bless, Dan