“Now it occurred that as Jesus was praying privately, the disciples were with Him, and He asked them, Who do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, that one of the ancient prophets has come back to life.
And He said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter replied, The Christ of God! But He strictly charged and sharply commanded them to tell this to no one. Saying, The Son of Man must suffer many things and be deliberately disapproved and repudiated and rejected on the part of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be put to death and on the third day be raised again.
And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself and his own interests and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and if need be, in dying also.]” (Luke 9:18-23)
Jesus Christ is defined by the world as a good man, a prophet, even the greatest prophet, a teacher, a rabbi, a heretic, a rebel, a false teacher…everything but the Son of God. In His day, some thought He was John the Baptist or Elijah or a reincarnation of one of the ancient prophets. Jesus was more concerned about what His followers believed.
Who do YOU say that I am? Remember, the disciples saw the human side of Jesus–they saw Him walk miles and miles, watched Him sleep and eat. They saw the mundane, every day things that people to as they live on this earth. But they could not deny the power He had to heal and set free. They also knew His character and because of this knowledge they were able to say “You are the Christ of God!”
In today’s world, there are many scoffers and atheists who hate God and everything He represents. Righteousness is scorned and derided. People who say Jesus is Lord are killed all day long in some places in the world today.
Jesus said “if any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself and his own interest and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” It is more than just a prayer said to accept Jesus and then go on your merry way. No it is a turning around and following Him. It is abandoning your old life and taking hold of a new life with Him. It getting to know Him and then doing what He tells you specifically to do every day. This is where the rubber meets the road for some people. They love their old life and don’t want to give it up. But in today’s world, many churches aren’t telling people to repent and follow Jesus, they are saying “its okay, grace covers it! I meet you at the bar after church!” Don’t be deceived by greasy grace. Jesus said the road is narrow to heaven. Hard choices must be made, sacrifices of our own desires are made sometimes.
This one question remains to this day. Jesus spoke it out and it is still a question that is for every person to answer one way or another. Who do YOU say that I AM?