In Luke, chapter 9, Jesus’ popularity is really growing. It’s in this chapter that we read about Jesus feeding five thousand people. It was quite the miraculous event. Five loaves of bread and two fish fed at least five thousand people, but probably even more.
Jesus’ disciples were able to be a part of this amazing event. He allowed them to be the ones who took the little bit of food they had and begin to pass it out to this great crowd. In my opinion this was a key moment for them. They were able to show their faith by passing out that little bit of food to all of those people.
What takes place after this miraculous event is what I want to focus on today. What happens next is an important exchange between Jesus and his disciples. He first asks the disciples, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They responded with different names that they had heard others call Jesus — names like John the Baptist, Elijah or some other prophets from long ago.
The crowds did not know Jesus like the disciples did. So Jesus presses in a little further. He wants to know who his disciples think he is; he asks, “Who do you say I am?”
How they would answer this question was of utmost importance. Their answer would tell Jesus if they understood who he really was. Did they think he was just another good evangelist or prophet, or did they truly believe he was the Messiah, the son of God? Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, answers correctly: God’s Messiah.
I believe Jesus still asks that question today. If Jesus was having coffee with you today and he asked you this same question, how would you respond? Who do you say Jesus is? Would you say he was just another great man or teacher? Or would you agree with Peter that Jesus was indeed God’s son?
What you believe about Jesus matters. There is no power in a Jesus who was just a great man or teacher. There is power, however, in a Jesus who is the son of God.
If Jesus were just another person, then you would not be able to have a personal relationship with him today. Jesus is the Messiah, and because he is, history has been changed forever. We are now able to have a personal relationship with the God of the universe. Jesus became personal with his disciples in this moment.
Here is why I believe it is so important that we have a correct understanding of who Jesus is: You cannot understand who you are until you know who Jesus is.
The more you acknowledge Jesus, the more real he will become to you. The more real he becomes to you, the more you will fall in love with him. As you fall in love with Jesus, he will become greater and you will become less. As you develop that attitude, you will recognize who he is and what he desires for you.
Josh Robertson is pastor of New Hope Church of the Nazarene and The Stirring. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfield reporter.com.