JESUS' QUESTION, persistently, in every moment, in every interaction is this: “What about you, who do you say I am?” This question is concealed just below the surface of every other question Jesus asks. “What do you want me to do for you?” leads to “Do you believe that I am trustworthy with your heart’s deepest desires?” “Has no one condemned you?” leads to “Do you believe I will condemn you?” “Why do you worry?” leads to “Do you believe I am trustworthy?” “Does this offend you?” is basically “Am I offensive to you?” Ultimately, they all lead to “Who do you say I am?” Not because Jesus is needy and requires our affirmation—nor because he needs our help figuring out who he is. Jesus knows who he is in terms of his identity as God’s beloved. No, Jesus is so persistent because this question—who we say Jesus is—is the most important question of our lives. Everything depends on it. It can sound crazy, this idea that our take on the identity of a guy who lived in Palestine some two thousand years ago is somehow the key to life. But I really think it’s the case. And so it is for our sake—not for his—that Jesus asks us again and again, patiently but persistently, “Who do you say I am?”
Let Me Ask You a Question: Conversations with Jesus , (Upper Room Books, 2018)
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 answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”
—Mark 8:27-29 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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