“And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they told him, ‘John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’ And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.’” Mark 8:27-29
So many places in the gospels, we see crowds gathered around Jesus. Zacchaeus climbs above the crowd into a tree to see Jesus in Luke 19. Jesus preaches from a boat in Luke 5, because there are so many people there to see him. In Luke 18, a paralyzed man has his friends lower him through a roof because a house is so crowded with people who want to see Jesus. I could keep going, but you get the picture - wherever Jesus goes during His ministry on earth, tons of people follow.
Jesus is traveling with His disciples, healing people, speaking, and building relationships with people. Through all of this, people start talking. The Pharisees are shocked at the man who calls Himself the Son of God. Some people think He’s a prophet. Some people don’t know what to think. The disciples are Jesus’ main team - the 12 people He travels with and spends more time with than anyone else. When He asks them who people say that He is, they name a variety of different people - a prophet, John the Baptist, Elijah. Then He turns the question around. Who do you say that I am? Yeah, you, Peter.
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Jesus. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit this, but sometimes I feel like I hear about Jesus so much that it’s hard to always listen when people are talking about Him. For a long time, that was enough. It’s pretty easy to just listen to people talk about Jesus after all. It doesn’t require very much of me most of the time.
The real work comes in when Jesus asks us the question He asks Peter. “Who do you say that I am?” I’m not saying that listening to other people talk about Jesus isn’t important. It is! I mean, that’s why I’m writing this devotion. But the real value of the question Jesus asks deals with who you say He is. This question is a call to action. We are called to discover who Jesus is.
I feel like saying that being called to discover who Jesus is looks more simple than it feels sometimes. I’m a person who always asks, “How?” and talking about discovering who Jesus is is loaded with “How?” questions.
A great place to start -if you’ve noticed, where we always start at camp -is God’s Word. What better way to discover for yourself who Jesus is than reading about who He is in God’s Word? There’s another thing we always do at camp - we pray. We spend time with Jesus. We ask Him for help. We thank Him. We ask Him to show Himself to us. To put it simply, discovering for yourself who Jesus is means diving in.
I’m praying for you as you listen to what Jesus says in Mark 8 and try to answer this question: “Who do you say that I am?”