This week I present to you, in context, a question asked from Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 16:13;
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
Let us look at what is being said here, but while reading and there after I would like you to think on the same question as though it were presented to you. “But who do you say that I am?”
First, we see Jesus away with his disciples and he asks about the “people.” He refers to the people and not the Pharisees or Scribes whom already had their mind made up. The people it says respond with previous prophets we know of from the Bible. This is huge. He performs miracles in their midst. He heals diseases, feeds thousands, and drives out demons yet they still cannot see higher or further than what the world has to offer.
In Matthew 13:13, the author quotes Isaiah;
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; 15 For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’
Yet, when he poses Peter with the question and the response is straight forward, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus replies, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
Further explanation comes from continuing our read in Matthew 13 starting in verse 16, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” These verses, to me, describe the situation we find much of the world in today. There is a huge division among those that can only see through the lens of the world and those who truly see through the eyes of Christ.
Last night a good friend who I have not heard from in quite some time text me and said that he was seeking God and listening for God but feels that he is not being heard. He said that he can’t hear God anymore and feels a little lost. We are a part of a lost and lonely world. A world that had Jesus walking on the same stones and breathing the same air but could not recognize it. In John 6:43, Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” Jesus said in our first verse that flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but My Father. One must keep seeking but they can only come to the Father is by His first coming to them.
I know that in my friend’s case that he may be in the wilderness now but if he is asking these questions to me then I know God is drawing him. He just has to listen. It may come as a whisper and it may take some time but God will come to those whose hearts are open. Are you open? “But who do you say I am?”