As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
Relate: I like to pretend that I don’t much care what people think about me. For the most part that is true but it really depends on what they are thinking. If people think I’m crazy, maybe a little weird, I don’t mind. I know I am. If they think I’m out of shape, perhaps a little overweight, no biggie. I know I’m not. Well, not nearly as much as I was before hopping across oceans. If they think I’m ugly, that’s OK with me. So are they. But if people think I’m stupid or incapable of understanding something… we got issues.
I have always heard it said that Jesus only asked the first question as a lead in to the second. He was asking, “Who do others say I am?” only to get the disciples thinking of who they personally thought He was. The idea has merit and those who espouse it are probably right but sometimes I wonder if Jesus wondered if he was getting through to his hard headed disciples. I wonder if He wondered if He was effective. For example, when Jesus was twelve, He stayed at the Temple when His family headed back home. Once they realized He was missing they came back for Jesus and asked, “What do You think You’re doing?” (I can imagine Joseph asking this as he pulled Jesus by the ear out of the Temple) Jesus answered, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” But then they told Him to get his butt in the car and go home and He obeyed. (Please forgive the artistic license) I wonder what He thought on that long donkey drive home.
React: I think questions pop up like this for all of us. We all have moments of insecurity. I don’t think it is necessarily a sin for those doubts to pop up. It is all a matter of what we do with those doubts and if we will chose to dwell in them. After all, when the Devil was tempting Jesus I don’t think he would have started out each time, “If you really are the Messiah…” unless he thought he might gain some traction with it.
Doubts will come. There will be times when we will wonder if we are getting through. We will wonder if we are doing or saying or attempting the right thing. Doubts will come about where we shall live, who we shall love, what we shall do. In all of these, we need to blanket those doubts, those legitimate questions in prayer, in seeking the Word, and in the advice of respected friends and mentors. But when it comes down to our identity, there are only two questions we should ask: “God, who do I say You are?” And, “God, who do You say I am?” How do you answer? How does He? Are You His child?
Help me. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see scum. I see dirt. That’s not me anymore. Help me to see You through me. Help me to understand more and more who I am in your eyes so that the eyes and accusations of everyone else, even me, will not stick. God, You call me loved. You call me precious. You say I am worth dying for. Then You went out and proved it. The fact that You value me so highly… it just blows me away.