In his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer wrote, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” We might say the same about our answer to the question: “Who is Jesus?”
So far in the book of Luke, we have seen a lot of people questioning the identity of Jesus: the crowds, the Pharisees, and even Satan himself. Today’s passage records an important turning point as Jesus poses the question directly to His disciples. Certainly, these men who had spent day after day with Him would have the correct answer.
This intimate exchange happened just following the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 (vv. 10–17),when Jesus was praying in private with His closest followers. First, Jesus asked them who people said he was. The disciples replied with a varied list of ideas: John the Baptist, Elijah, a prophet come back to life.
Then Jesus asked them the same question: “Who do you say I am?” Peter—always quick to speak and act—answered immediately: “God’s Messiah.” He recognized Jesus as the promised deliverer sent by God. Some commentators point out that Peter’s response falls short of proclaiming the deity of Christ. Peter would need more time and experience with Jesus to come to that fuller belief. But the understanding Peter already demonstrated opened the door for a deeper discussion of discipleship.
Jesus began that instruction immediately, readjusting their expectations. They were looking for a triumphant and conquering savior, but Jesus foretold His suffering, rejection, death, and resurrection. These things “must” happen. The Greek word dei, translated as “must,” implied that this would all happen by God’s design. Jesus was not resigned to “fate.” He was committed to obedience.
>> Consider what our culture says about Jesus. Who do they say He is? Then, ask yourself, “Who do I say Jesus is?’ Take some time today to meditate on your answer.
Lord Jesus, You are the Son of God, deity in the flesh, and the perfect sacrifice whose death secured our salvation. Our identity is in You, and from You we receive holiness.