Thank you for joining us today as we host the exceptionally talented and inspirational Matthew Kelly for the final post in the #RediscoverJesus blog tour hosted by Dynamic Catholic. The video below introduces this awesome book. We’re also fortunate to share an excerpt from Chapter Four of theRediscover Jesus, The Jesus Question. I believe that you will truly enjoy this book. Be sure to share it with a loved one so that together you can #RediscoverJesus. Blessings! Lisa M. Hendey
Several years ago I was in Israel with a group of pilgrims, walking where Jesus walked. On the second day of our trip we found ourselves at the ruins in Caesarea Philippi. Our guide’s name was Nedal. He was learned and wise. He knew the region and history, but you could also tell that for him it was personal. His teaching on that day entranced me. He brought the following story from Matthew’s Gospel to life, and I have been pondering it in new ways ever since.
Jesus was walking with his disciples in the district of Caesarea Philippi when he asked them two questions. The first question was: “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Matthew 16:13–20)
The second question Jesus asked was: “But who do you say that I am?”
This is the Jesus question. Who do you say that Jesus is? Not who do your parents or teachers, spouse, pastor, or friends say that Jesus is, but who do you say he is? This is the inescapable question about the unavoidable Jesus. Sooner or later, we each have to proclaim for ourselves who we think Jesus is.
As I read this passage and imagine the disciples gathering around Jesus as he asks these questions, I get the sense that the disciples were a little hesitant. Perhaps they were looking around at each other wondering if these were trick questions. They were richly human and so I imagine them playfully saying, “You take this one, Peter!”
There were many aspects to Peter, as there are to us all. But the leader in Peter recognized the importance of that moment, and he stepped up and said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”
If Jesus showed up to your church this Sunday and stood before everyone and said, “Who do people say that I am today?” what would we tell him?
Our culture seems intent on placing Jesus in the same category as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. But Jesus is not a figment of Christian imagination. He lived in a place and a time; he walked the earth as you and I do today. The historical evidence of Jesus is irrefutable. Christian records and writings are more comprehensive than any other ancient texts. Jewish historians clearly established Jesus in history, and the major secular historian of his time also acknowledged him.
There is also a growing number of people who want to reduce Jesus to just a nice guy. Not the nice guy, or even the nicest guy, but just one of many nice guys. As a result of this type of thinking, there are many people who want to reduce the essence of Christianity to simply being a nice person.
Countless people and cultures since the time of Jesus have come up with countless ways to diminish who he was and what that means to humanity, history, and each of us individually. Our own time is not unique or different in this way.
The world’s other major religions believe that Jesus was either a great teacher or a great prophet. It is first interesting and important to note that they do not deny his existence or the fact that he lived and walked the earth at a certain time in a particular place.
But Jesus did not claim to be a great teacher or a great prophet. Who did Jesus claim to be?
POINT TO PONDER: Right now you have an incredible opportunity to get to know Jesus better.
VERSE TO LIVE: “I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” JOHN 18:38
QUESTION TO CONSIDER: Have you ever really explored the Jesus question?
PRAYER: Jesus, teach me to never stop seeking you. Help me to seek you in every relationship, place, and situation.
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Thank you for participating in the #RediscoverJesus blog tour!