Written tests in school were scary for me, but oral exams intimidated me even more. With the whole class watching and listening, a quick and correct answer was expected after the question was presented. Sometimes I remember wishing I was invisible. I hoped the teacher would somehow overlook me when scanning the class for the student to call on, especially when I was unsure about the answer. Other times, I was the first to raise my hand because I was confident I knew the answer.
Imagine Jesus asking you a question and expecting you to answer in front of others? Nothing like being put on the spot.
Well, this happened to the disciples. A pop quiz! No time to prepare. No time to think about their answer. A quick answer is what Jesus expected. But this test was not in a modern-day classroom – it was in God’s land and was presented by the wisest Teacher to ever walk this earth.
Here’s how it went down…
“When Jesus came to the region of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say
that the Son of Man is?’ ‘Well,’ they replied, ‘some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, or one of the other prophets'” (Matthew 16:13-14).
Whew! That was easy enough. They had heard what others said about Jesus so many times that the answer just rolled off their tongues.
But Jesus wasn’t finished. He then looked them in the eyes and continued… “But who do YOU say I am” (Matthew 16:15).
Oh no! Now it’s gotten personal.
I wonder if there was a silence at that moment. Perhaps they looked at the ground and kicked around a few pebbles. Maybe they looked at each other with bewilderment or their hearts jumped a few beats. This question surely caught them off guard.
But here’s the thing… this particular question demanded an answer that was crucial to their eternal security, and absolutely vital to receiving Jesus’ approval.
And then good ole’ Peter answered… ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God'” (Matthew 16:13-16).
Good answer, Peter! Jesus thought so, too…
“Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it”‘ (Matthew 16:17-18).
Do you have a defining moment tucked inside your memory bank? Well, something tells me that this was Peter’s defining moment. Nothing like nailing the question and getting Jesus’ approval.
Many people had rejected Jesus as their Messiah, the One they were waiting for. But right here Peter acknowledged that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the One prophesied about in Scripture.
Peter was declaring Jesus as Lord.
The name Lord is not just any common name, so we should remember to use it carefully and with much understanding. One specific name of God is Adonai and means, “Lord or Master” and signifies that God has authority; dominion. To declare Jesus’ Lordship over us, we are saying in essence that we give up our rights to our will and allow Jesus to rule over us. In reference to the name Adonai, Kay Arthur states: “The Lordship of God means His total possession of me and my total submission to Him as Lord and Master.”
Do you now understand why Jesus favored Peter’s answer? To declare the Lordship of Christ not only means that we allow Him to rule over us, but it also indicates that we choose a relationship with Him. Jesus doesn’t want to be just one of our friends—He wants to be our best friend.
So, for a second put yourself in Peter’s shoes. If Jesus asked you, “Who do YOU say I am?”, what you say? Would your response reflect the opinions of others? Would it be sincere or flippant? Would your answer reveal the depth of your heart and how much time you spend with Him? Or would it be just words, without feeling?
If Jesus were standing right before you, would you be able to declare the LORDSHIP of Christ? Is He the most important person in your life? Have you given Him the throne of your heart?
Just some food for thought today. Let’s ponder this question and then answer it to the best of our ability, with actions to match the words. There is NOTHING that pleases Jesus more. Imagine the smile on His face when our response to His question meets His expectations.
Now’s your chance! Please write your declaration to Jesus in the comment’s section.