Speaking Of Life 3042 | Who do You Say I Am?
What comes to mind when you imagine God? Perhaps you think about his nature: his love, mercy, and grace. You may see God in creation—in the beautiful harmony of the universe. Maybe you see God in the ways he works through other people. We see God in a smile, an act of kindness, and in tearful forgiveness. All of these are faithful ways to imagine God. However, at one time or another, we all have ideas about God that are motivated by our own desires. It is often tempting to imagine God in ways that are self-serving.
The Bible reveals that God made humanity in his own image, however, since the Fall, humanity has been trying to recreate God into our image. Sometimes, we put our values, opinions, and beliefs on him so that we can do and think the things that seem right to us. Unfortunately, this never works because we were created to follow him, not the other way around. This is why one of the most important questions for any person to answer is, “Who is God?” The answer to this question affects everything else in our lives.
During the incarnation, Jesus declared an understanding of who God is beyond the disciples’ human expectations: a full and Spirit-filled revelation. In Mark 8:27-38, we read:
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah." Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."
By asking his disciples, “Who do you say I am,” Jesus was teaching them the importance of identifying the Son of God accurately. Peter accurately confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, but then he wanted to define the kind of Messiah Jesus was. In the verses that follow, Christ used the opportunity to discuss self-denial, which includes the denial of our own self-serving ideas about God. We have to look to Jesus to define God for us and resist the temptation to view God through the lens of our own biases. In our relationship with God, we do not change God to fit our preferences. Rather, as we devote ourselves to God, we change and become who he has created us to be.
Jesus refused to be defined on our terms. However, when we accept God as our God, he shows himself to be more glorious than we could possibly imagine.
I’m Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life.