Some surveys are more important than others. An informal show of hands differs greatly from a national research firm’s tracking of political, economic or sociological trends.
In Matthew 16, Jesus calls a meeting of his disciples and surveys them as to their ‘pulse’ on public opinion. He has been living in Israel for over 30 years. The last 3 years have been filled with teachings, miracles, debates, and a variety of personal and public interactions giving a multitude of opportunities for people to draw their conclusions.
So…”Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
- John the Baptist – Herod, the ‘not-so-nice’ ruler, was probably having nightmares about his execution of John, as he heard of Jesus. Could John have risen from the dead?
- Elijah – Faithful readers of the Minor Prophets would know Malachi’s prediction of sending of the prophet before that ‘great and dreadful day of the LORD.’
- Jeremiah – That O.T. prophet had shed buckets of tears over the deterioration of Jerusalem. Was Jesus not a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief?
- One of the prophets – He seems to be speaking for God, at least some thought. His Sermon the Mount with its “but I say unto you…” would have garnered some attention.
There was not a clear consensus among the people, was there? People were divided as they are today in their assessment of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
“But what about you?” he asked, “Who do you say I am?” God has no grandchildren and each individual must respond to this pressing question. This probing question is unlike any other survey. The answer has eternal consequences.
As we begin the countdown to the cross over the next 2 weeks, let’s ask God to make it clear to us who Jesus truly is. May we, like Peter, experience the blessing of a bold confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”