“Then he asked them, ‘But who do you say I am?’” (Matthew 16:15).
One Sabbath afternoon, a pastor said there were three important questions we should ask ourselves: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?
I struggled several times to answer the first question, and when reading the Bible I see many other people did as well.
But when we read the question Jesus asks about His identity, the way He asks it is quite different. I don’t think Jesus had an adolescent worry over what people thought of Him. It’s not like He was suffering from an identity crisis or questioning His own value. His identity and self-esteem didn’t depend on other people’s opinion. (Neither should ours).
Jesus didn’t need to know who He was or what people thought of Him, but the disciples did. We do too.
In addition to being very profound and ancient, this question is extremely personal and current. It’s even more important than the other three I mentioned. After all, in order to understand who we are, where we come from and where we’re going, we need to know the I AM and have a clear concept of what we believe and know about Him.
If we have a life of daily communion with God, it shouldn’t be hard to have hundreds of things to say about Him.
The problem is that many times we don’t know Him and settle for what others tell us about Him. Or, even worse, we believe the negative qualities other people attribute to Him, distorted by the enemy. We look for our own answers to those questions instead of going to the Rock We turn to science to search for our origins and we independently lay out the most intricate plans to get to where we want to go. And, in the midst of it all, we forget He has the answers to those three questions and many more. We forget there’s no beginning and no end to understanding, if we don ‘t know the Alpha and Omega.
No, God doesn’t use what we believe about Him in order to exist. However, our whole existence staggers if we don’t know who He is.
Time and again, His Word reveals to us the qualities that can provide enough evidence and foundation to believe, clear doubts, provide answers to those three questions of ours, and lead others to Him. Who do we say He is?