In Matthew 16, we read that Jesus and his disciples made their way into the district of Caesarea Philippi. Located some 25 miles from the Sea of Galilee, Caesarea Philippi was a Greco-Roman city known for pagan worship. It was in the midst of such religious confusion that Jesus inquired of his disciples who people were claiming him to be. His disciples responded with a variety of answers: “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). Disheartened by their answers, Jesus turned to each of his disciples and asked them a personal, pointed, and perennial question that neither they nor all of humanity to come could evade: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).
Such a question strikes at the very soul of man, because his answer reveals to whom his soul belongs. Furthermore, man’s answer to that question determines where his soul will spend eternity: heaven or hell. When confronted with this question concerning the identity of Jesus, people have responded in very similar ways as did the people in the disciples’ reports. Some claim that Jesus was a religious guru, a masterful teacher, and a benevolent man. Others claim that he was a deranged lunatic with an identity crisis. The reality is that we are all faced with the question of whom Jesus is. We cannot escape, ignore, or dodge the question. Political side-step maneuvers may work in Washington, but this tactic is useless regarding the person and work of Jesus. Whether one claims ignorance, apathy, inconvenience, or infringement upon personal, private beliefs, one can offer no plausible excuse before a holy God. Failure to affirm Jesus as the Son of God who has come to earth and lived a perfectly righteous life, died a substitutionary death to atone for sinners, and has been raised according to the Scriptures on the third day, has, in fact, answered Jesus’ question by denying Jesus’ claims about himself (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
You have either surrendered to the Lordship of Christ or you have not. You have either answered as did Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” or you believe that Jesus is just some figure in human history whose life and death have no significance for your life. I pray that your answer aligns with Peter’s, and you can say that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6). Our relativistic society resists such exclusivistic claims. People want options. Jesus doesn’t offer options and alternatives. He offers himself alone, because he is sufficient for salvation. He is worthy of your life, your soul, your all. Run to Jesus today. Stop evading the gospel call that you have heard. Respond to it. Trust in Jesus today! He will save you! He will save you now!