And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. Mark 8:27-30
Jesus took his disciples to a beautiful hillside country, away from their opposition, to reflect, review and refresh. Scattered all around them in Caesarea Philippi were magnificent palaces to Roman governors, temples to Syrian gods, the supposed birthplaces of Greek gods and Jewish history from the mouth of the Jordan River. It is as if Jesus is giving his disciples a test of all he’d taught them: setting himself against a background of world religions and asking them who he is before his crucifixion. Peter responds personally, with a profound confession that has echoed down through the centuries. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus affirms that it was revealed to Peter by the Father Himself, giving divine authority (Matthew 16:16-17).
Stop and look at what the world and people around you say about Jesus. If we stood on top of Lookout Mountain, the Denver landscape would reveal the domes of world religions, Buddhist temples, Islamic mosques, Mormon spires, and centers of cultural humanism. There is a plethora of philosophies and worldviews competing for allegiance. One has to fight intentionally to hold on to a Biblical worldview in a post-modern, post-Christian, post-truth world. Everyone has an opinion, and as much as people try to ignore Jesus, push him off to the margins of life or completely out of it, he still proves himself to be God and the most central and controversial person in human history.
Test yourself. Let Jesus ask you, “Who do you say I am?” What is competing for your attention, and distracting you from encountering Jesus face to face and confessing him as Lord? Jesus asks each of us, and demands a personal verdict. As you review your daily routine, does it match up with what you believe? Does what you confess about Jesus match how you’re living? Take time now to acknowledge God’s work in you and to confess him as the reigning King and Lord of your life. Be faithful in declaring Jesus is Lord to the world. How you follow matters. They will know we are Christians by our love.
By Donna Burns