Broaching this topic with His closest friends, Jesus asks “Who am I?” while they were traveling to the area of Caesarea, an ancient port on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Israel south of Haifa. He prefaces His question by asking His disciples what others think about Him, and the answers are quite diverse: Some saw in Him His cousin John, the Baptist. Others said about Jesus that He had to be a resurrected prophet of old, like Elijah or Jeremiah.
Identifying who Jesus is remains a controversial topic today. Who is He? Have you asked this question lately? I believe only the Spirit of God can provide the accurate answer. And inspired by the Holy Spirit Simon Peter rose to the occasion and declared (Matthew 16:16):
“You are the Messiah. You are the Son of the living God”.
Peter’s enthusiasm was palpable. He also emphatically spoke up when Jesus and His disciples had their Last Supper together. After the Lord broke the news to them that He was going to be apprehended by the Roman authorities to be executed, Peter said (Luke 22:33):
“Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
In response to these two public statements of Peter’s, Jesus said two very different things to him (Matthew 16:18 and Luke 22:34):
“You are Peter. On this rock I will build my church.”
“Peter, you will say three times that you don’t know me. And you will do it before the rooster crows today.”
Obviously the apostle Peter is not the only person misjudging himself on occasion. We have a tendency to either over- or underestimate ourselves. Jesus on the other hand knows exactly who we are. He sees the good, the bad and the ugly inside of us, and the good news is: He still loves us. In fact, God gave us His Son because He loves us so much. And His Son Jesus gave His lifeblood to save the world. Believing in Him we are added to His tribe, adopted into His family and counted amongst the children of God. Whoever does not believe has no way of knowing that God loves us. And as long as we are oblivious to His love we don’t know who we really are.
Who am I? It’s an important question to ask. We have a lifetime to get to know ourselves and most importantly, we have a lifetime to get to know God. Further down the line we will discover that finding God and finding ourselves is closely related. God is love, in other words: Love – this is who God is, and loved – this is who we are. Unlocking this open secret, we will find our true identity.