Who do you say I am?

Who do you say I am?

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

Mark 8: 29

Life is full of questions. Questions help us learn, discover, show interest in others, and help us develop as people. Questions test and challenge, and depending on the answer and the question situation, questions have consequences – positive and negative. But what is the most important question, the one of most significance? What is the only question with consequences that will last into eternity?

Well I am going to suggest it is this question that Jesus asked his disciples. This is the question that, depending on how you answer it, will lead to either life, or death.

Who do you say I am?

So many people today have their ideas of who Jesus is. For many he is just a man and nothing more. For some his name is no more than a curse word. For others he is a good moral teacher who lived many years ago, and someone worth listening to if we want to live life as a good person. And for others he is just in the mix of morality figures we can learn from.

For Muslims he is a prophet and one to be highly regarded. So, when we share Jesus with the Pashtun people they have a very good awareness of the name we are speaking of. But they don’t answer the question of who he is as Jesus himself answered it.

But who do we say that Jesus is, and why does it matter?

Well as Christians we take our cue from Jesus himself. You see this verse from Mark’s gospel comes at a turning point in the narrative of Jesus life and ministry. Up to this point the narrative from Mark has been action packed, never slowing down with miracles, healings and Jesus and his followers travelling all over the place. The news about Jesus was also travelling all over. People were desperate to see him, and the atmosphere around him must have been incredible. But as Jesus and his disciples are walking along the road together on the way to their next destination, he asks them this question. At this point the narrative moves from action to accountability.

Who do you say I am?

With all the evidence before them, did the disciples recognise and understand who Jesus was? Could just an ordinary man do the things Jesus did? Could a prophet? Well maybe, but no prophet ever did the things Jesus did, and also make the claims that Jesus did about himself – Son of God, Son of Man, and all the other references that would point to him being the Messiah. The Chosen One of God. When Peter answers that Jesus is the Messiah – Jesus does not deny it.

As Christians we trust the accounts of Jesus throughout all Scripture to establish who he was. He affirmed everything in what Scripture says about him, and what he said about himself through his life, through his death, through his resurrection from the dead, and through his ascension from this earth. All evidenced and all witnessed.

As Christians we also acknowledge and accept the exclusive nature of Jesus and the claims he made about himself. Others might think Jesus is just one way of knowing God or getting to heaven. However, Jesus told his disciples very clearly that was not the case. Jesus told them that he was the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to know God except through him. Unless we accept and acknowledge Jesus Christ is who he said he is, and did all that he did, and that our lives are surrendered to him and him alone we will never know God, and our eternity will be far from him in the reality of hell and not heaven.

Heaven and hell is a concept that our Muslim neighbours very clearly know, and therefore we share with them the truth and reality of Jesus Christ, not as a prophet, but as the Messiah. Or as we would put it – Saviour and Lord. He is the only way for them to know God, and he is the only security for eternity with God.

You see when you answer the question on who Jesus is – you cannot afford to be partly correct. You must be fully correct. Life and death depend on it. So, our ministry continues to bring that truth to the Pashtun people. To let them see who Jesus truly is. We praise and thank God that as we do, more and more Pashtun can answer as Peter did – You are the Messiah.