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As a small child, I used to significantly care what other people thought of me. I begged people to be my friends, and I often cared about their opinions of me more than my opinion of me. And more importantly, I did not realize that I cared more about others’ judgments than the views of God.
It was not until I matured that I realized I needed to let go of that. I needed to let go of what other people thought of me, and embrace who I knew God called me to become.
Jesus Christ is the Messiah
In Matthew chapter 16, verses 13-28, Peter declares that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. At this moment, he does not necessarily care what other people think of him; he is willing to follow Jesus at all costs. By Matthew 26:69–75, however, it is Peter who denies three times that He even knew Jesus.
“Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:69-75, New International Version).
Peter was once able to answer the question, “Who Do You Say I Am,” but he was not able to reconcile his answer until Jesus reinstates him in John 21:15-19.
As Christians, we must focus on who we say God is. And answer that question consistently.
It does not matter how those around you, related to you, or married to you answer that per se (of course, we do care about their relationships with God), but who God is to you. Our relationship with the Creator of the Universe must be intimate, personal, and ours.
Who Is God To You?
Our relationship and view of Jesus must be our own and no one else’s. So, who is God to you? And I do not mean the dictionary definition you state on Facebook, but never live out a single day of your life. I mean, who is God to your heart?
To me, He is the Great I Am. The mover and maker of mountains I cannot even fathom. He is my best friend, the only one I can trust and count on with my life. He is my constant rock, Prince of Peace, and Savior. He is the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Alpha, and Omega, Beginning and the End, and the only one I will serve and live for day by day.
When Peter declared that Jesus was “the Christ” (or Messiah), the “Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16), he only knew this because of the work of the Holy Spirit within him. As the Passion Translation scripture notes, “Peter heard the Father’s whisper within that Jesus was the Christ”.
Matthew 16:13-17 of the New International Version notes, “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-17, NIV).
For Peter, it did not matter that other people said Jesus was John the Baptist, Jeremiah, or one of the Prophets. What mattered was who He said and believed Jesus to be to him.
Both then and now, we acknowledge that we cannot know God or Jesus without His presence. It is impossible to say we know and fully understand God if our actions and beliefs do not match that recognition. It is one thing to read the Bible and soak in the Word through knowledge; it is another to let it saturate your and heart soul, influencing your every action.
Again, we cannot know God without His presence. And we only grow in His presence through an intimate and personal relationship with Him.
In the New Testament, Peter’s name was Simeon, meaning “he who hears”. And indeed, Simeon Peter heard.
“For you did not discover this on your own, but my Father in Heaven has supernaturally revealed it to you,” (Matthew 16:17b, The Passion Translation). Intellectually, he knew who God was. But spiritually, it was only through God that his heart could sing, “Jesus, you are the Messiah to me.”
Simeon Peter had declared a profound truth about Jesus that would remain true forever: Jesus Christ is the Rock.
And that confession, that Jesus is Lord, Savior, and Messiah, would be the bedrock foundation for the Churches of all generations to come.
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah” (Matthew 16:18-20, New International Version).
Who do you say Jesus is?