by Pauline Simonsen
Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.
‘He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God”’ (Luke 9:20).
Who do you want Jesus to be for you?
We human beings are notorious for trying to make God in our image – a reflection more of our culture and values and needs than of God’s being. Jesus, my friend and buddy; Jesus, the wise hippy dude; Jesus, the high church priest; Jesus, the liberation radical; Jesus, the kindly shepherd, Jesus …? There are usually elements of truth in all these images of Jesus, but none of them reveals him truly or fully.
Who do you say he is? Who do you want him to be? Our post-modern culture might like to say that Jesus is ‘whoever you want him to be’ – your interpretation, your truth, your belief, your need. But Jesus isn’t a cipher for our own desires and ideas. Jesus comes to us on his terms, not on ours. While he is the greatest cross-cultural missionary ever (think of the Samaritan woman at the well!), he never compromises or fudges his identity or his calling.
The disciples find this out when he quizzes them about people’s take on him. ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ And then, pressing his question home: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter has his epiphany moment: a sudden insight that Jesus is the promised Messiah of God. But Jesus won’t let that insight be hijacked by Peter’s desires and ideas. He immediately explains what God’s Messiah must be and endure: suffering, rejection, execution, and finally resurrection. Jesus is the suffering servant king.
What have we projected onto Jesus that says more about us and our needs and desires? What might Jesus say to you and me through his word, to clarify his true identity and calling? How might this revelation of who he is (‘I AM’!) challenge and change our walk as his disciples?
Lord, continue to give us epiphanies to see you straight and true, on your terms, not our own. And give us the courage to follow you. Amen.