And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”
I find this account very interesting. The omniscient and omnipotent incarnate God, carrying out a stakeholder audit with His disciples. To compound matters, He did it just after prayers.
Good morning friends. Jesus had a very unique style of interacting and engagement with His audience, especially His disciples. You find this same format in the prophetic books, where He asks rhetorical questions, and provides the answers also. One of my favourites can be found in the book of Jeremiah;
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
I believe He uses these questions to expand our minds, creating opportunities for us to understand His mind and character. It might surprise you dear friends that the all knowing God likes to reason with humanity. In the early days of our existence, He used to come for fellowship in the garden with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening, hence He asked, “Adam where are you?”, after the fall. In a similar dialogue with the prophet Isaiah, He said, “Come and let us reason together”
So back to my opening verses, I believe He asked the question to open up a dialogue to assess their understanding of who He truly is. It had to come from them, not imposed on them, because Freewill is our God-given attribute. Therefore the only way to draw out whatever lied within their hearts for correction or affirmation it was through their understanding, until we understand, we are not empowered to make informed choices.
These dialogues are channels for the almighty God’s to reveal His heartbeat to anyone that is willing to listen, through them we get firsthand knowledge of God. In Matthew’s account of this story He captured this statement from Jesus, right after Peter’s response to His question;
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
In closing this thought, I pose the same question to you; Who is Jesus to you? And I pray that it opens the floodgate for light and revelation to come into your spirit, and permeate your soul.
In the words of the writer, Oliver Wendell Holmes;
The human mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.