Who Do You Say That I Am?

Do you know who you are?

To discover personal security in our identity, the perfect example to observe is Jesus. He showed deep intimacy with His Father, displayed a great deal of security in His identity and was able to pursue a single-minded ministry purpose. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see Him with great wisdom establishing identity values by asking His disciples a very pointed question.

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Matthew 16:13-14 (NKJV)

Like most of Jesus’ queries, this was a setup for His teachings to come forth in a very powerful, yet practical way. His question was first to address what outsiders were saying about Him. In their response, the disciples listed out names of great prophets of the past like Elijah, Jeremiah, and a most recent man of the prophetic, John the Baptist.

Now why would people say that Jesus was possibly one of the great prophets? Basically they derived that idea from what they most likely saw Him do: speak words with prophetic power. But wasn’t Jesus so much more than a prophet when He was here on earth?

“The world we live in likes to derive our identity out of what we do.”

Yet even to this day, mankind has such a nasty habit of boxing people in by labeling them based on what they do. Labeling places a person into a category of identity. This “pigeon-holing” causes people to be put into a box that can limit their potential.

When we see someone who excels well in a certain arena, the automatic reaction many times is to label them into that specific service or work, forgetting that their span of abilities and influence may go way beyond that. Even as children, sometimes those around can put labels upon us. Sadly, we often live the rest of our lives striving to keep up with those labels.

Jesus was not just a prophet; He was a teacher, healer, Savior and many other things. But He did not allow Himself to be limited when people labeled Him with other past prophets. That labeling, especially if it occurs very early on, can limit people because it does not encourage operating outside of the stated purpose of that given title.

If we are not careful, we will give little regard for the true identity within people and within us that comes from God, which no man can formulate or manipulate.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15 (NKJV)

Now please understand, Jesus did not need an extra pat on the back when He posed this question. He was opening up the doorway for revelation to come forth to the men that He had invested His life in. Peter, the one who we all can relate to because of his seeming instability at the time, steps forth and astounds Jesus with his response.

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:16-17 (NKJV)

“Jesus had a clear understanding of who He was, and out of that identity He flowed with absolute security.”

Jesus had a clear understanding of who He was, and out of that identity He flowed with absolute security. Only divine revelation could have shown Peter what this true identity of Jesus was. It is not based on man’s pressures or perspectives. With only 3 years of ministry here on earth, Jesus certainly could have fallen victim to the expectations of the crowd or the Pharisees.

Their peer pressure could have driven Him into being something that He was not, which they certainly tried to impose on Him many times. They even attempted to use Scripture as a way to manipulate Him into the person they wanted Him to be. But our Savior and Lord was never moved by those man-made demands. He was confident in who He was and confident in His purpose.

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