MUSINGS – March 25, 2019
Jesus brought his disciples far north in Canaan to the area near the Roman city of
Caesarea Philippi which was named in honor of Caesar and Herod Philip.* In this region people worshipped the many Roman and Greek gods such as Pan a half man half goat.
Perhaps he brought them to this pagan area, where he was not so well known, to be away from the constant crush of the crowds. Here he was able to spend more time in instructing and enlightening the twelve that he had called to him. Here in the remote place he asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” He was asking the opinion of the common people who were more likely to speak with his disciples than to himself. He knew that the majority of the religious leaders had dismissed him as a fake and a threat to their their control over the people.
The disciples answered that some thought he was John the Baptizer, Elijah, Jeremiah, or a prophet. These people could see that he was a holy man of God and they had reverence for him. They were so close to the truth, and yet so far.
Then Jesus asked THE question. The most important question that they (and we) would ever have to answer. “But who do you say I am?” Peter gave the correct answer. It’s not quite clear if he was speaking for himself or as spokes person for them all.
What it’s your answer to THE question? If it is anything less than Messiah, the Son of the living God, you have missed the mark. Jesus is not John the Baptizer, Elijah, Jeremiah, or a prophet. He it’s the Son of God, God the Son.
C. S. Lewis explained it the best way I have ever come across.
- “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.“
* Herod Philip was the son of Herod the great and Cleopatra
All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Willuams