Scripture Reference: Matthew 16:13-20
In the area of Caesarea Philippi Jesus called His disciples and asked them who the people say He is. Most people thought He was the reincarnation of one or more of the great prophets that have passed on. They sensed His greatness, but they couldn’t quite figure out who He really is.
But then Jesus turned to His disciples and asked the question that mattered more to Him than what people out there said about Him. “Who do you say I am?” Peter didn’t hesitate to share his answer, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
In response to Peter’s answer, Jesus calls him blessed saying that his human intellect didn’t reveal to him the greatness of Jesus. It was a revelation from His Father in heaven. Grasping the greatness of Christ is a Gift from above. And it is on this revelation will the church of Christ be build.
This is not a statement that Jesus will build His church upon a human leader for if human leaders could do it, there was no need for Christ to die. He is saying here that He will build His church upon the revelation that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is God in the flesh. God will build not on temporary flesh, but on the eternal power of Jesus Christ. Being built on the revelation of Christ, the gates of hell will not be powerful enough to overcome it.
Once someone has had a personal encounter with Jesus, no amount of adversity, human reasoning or anything temporary could change his mind. Once Jesus is revealed in the heart of a believer for who He really is, no one will be able to convince that person to turn his back on Him. He then gives those who have received this revelation the power to bind on earth and in heaven and to set free in earth and in heaven.
A life lesson I’ve learnt from this conversation Jesus had with His followers is that we sometimes have things backwards. We are often more concerned about what people out there think about us. Jesus, however, was more concerned with what the people closest to Him thought of Him. Often, we treat those closest to us with the least respect and we don’t care what they think of us. Jesus shows us a better way and He does so by being the first example. He was least concern about the impression people out there had about Him and more concerned what people closest to Him thought about Him.
Perhaps it is just a natural inclination to be more concerned with what strangers think of us. However, in our pursuit to impress people who may not even like us, we neglect those who love us unconditionally. In reading this, I saw that Jesus did exactly the opposite. He loved all people, yes. And He went about doing good to all people, regardless of social standing and even their religious views (e.g. the Syro-Phoenician woman), but yet He wanted to know what those closest to Him thought about Him. It is not because He was insecure. He knew who He was. He knew where He came from and He moved without hesitation towards His goal, but it mattered to Him what they thought of Him because He loved them. We, on the other hand, are often more concerned about the impressions outsiders have of us, not because we love them, but because of our pursuit to look good in the eyes of others.
May we desire, like our Lord, to care more about those we love and are dearest to us. There is a saying that says we spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need in order to impress people we don’t like. May we never get caught in that kind of trap.
- Freedom Series: Freedom from Temptation (ptl2010.com)
- What is the “best evidence” we have today that proves Christ is real? (ptl2010.com)
- WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? Part One (ptl2010.com)