Jesus asks the greatest of questions

by Tom Lathrop

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15

Many people down through the ages have asked this question: “Who is Jesus?” It is the most important question there is. If you get this wrong, it has eternal consequences. Jesus asks the question of His disciples, wanting a personal response.

There have been a lot of different opinions on who Jesus is. Even in the field of religion there has been disagreement. But Jesus didn’t leave any room for discussion on this. It was important for His disciples to know and to confess who He was.

Jesus makes it clear who He is to all who really want to know. He is described as being the Word of God become flesh (John 1:1,14). He is the Creator of the world (John 1:2-3). He is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He is the great “I AM” of the Old Testament (John 8:58). The claims of Jesus' deity cannot be ignored.

The Jewish leaders understood Jesus’ claims, and several times they even took up stones to kill Him for blasphemy. Ultimately that is why He was crucified. Although they could find no sin in Him, His claim of deity was what motivated His cruel condemnation and death.

So Jesus thought it of eternal importance for the disciples to answer that great question: “But who do you say that I am?” The emphasis is on the “you” because it would be a very personal confession. Jesus was more interested in who the disciples thought He was than who others thought He was. You’d think they should be able to get it right.

Well it took a revelation from God the Father to reveal who Jesus was to them. Peter said it plainly: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” They were in the very presence of God the Son. Did they really understand what Peter said? Many times over did He prove it to them. We read about Him in the gospels doing great miracles and having control over the storms and seas and speaking the most profound words ever spoken in the history of the world.

The primary question for each of us is still: “Who do you say Jesus is?” Jesus makes it personal to you and me. The question begs a thoughtful, active response. Do you believe He is who He said He is… or is He a liar or a lunatic? If He is Lord, as He claims to be, have you received Him as your personal Lord and Savior? That is the big question.

He died for you personally. If you were the only person on the planet, He still would have died for you. That’s how much He loves you. This question cannot go unanswered or ignored. Who do you say Jesus is? He makes it personal and He takes it personally. You must not only believe, but you must confess Him before men.