Who do you say I am?

[Jesus is speaking]  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”  Mark 8:29

Jesus’s question to Peter is incredibly profound on many levels.  Think about these three.

First, Peter had accompanied Jesus for almost three years when He asked the question.  Peter had witnessed His miracles:  walking on water, calming the storm, healing the sick; raising the dead; feeding the thousands; restoring sight and sound to the blind and deaf, etc.  He had also heard Jesus’s words and parables, so full of wisdom and guidance.  

Second, while the Bible informs us that this event occurred in the general region of Caesarea-Philippi, historians have pinpointed it to the specific city of Banias.  You’ll recall all the many references to people worshiping Baals, the false gods, in the Old Testament.  Banias was the location of the Pan Sanctuary for the god Pan and the Baals.  Jesus asked Peter the question squarely in the center of enemy territory.  Don’t you find this fact absolutely fascinating?  

Third, God referred to Himself as the I AM in the Old Testament.  For example, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites:   I AM has sent me to you.’ “  (Exodus 3:14 NIV).  In the next verse He refers to himself as “THE LORD”, which in Hebrew in this case means “I AM”.  When Jesus asked Peter the question, do you think He used any voice inflection to give him a strong hint–something like “Who do you say I AM?”

How do you imagine Peter felt and thought when Jesus questioned him?

When you read the Bible, open your mind and spirit to really capture what the verses are saying, the historical and cultural context, and how everything ties together.  The more you dig for understanding, the more the Bible will come alive.    

Prayer:  Dear God, we know you are the I AM and that Jesus is the Messiah and also the I AM.  Forgive us for our sins.  Help us to grow in spiritual maturity and make disciples as you commanded us to do.  Amen.

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