Questions can be powerful, and the answers to some questions can mean either life or death. Have you ever been asked a question that really mattered? A question that, depending on your answer, you knew would have dramatic consequences? In Matthew 16, the disciples were asked such a question, and the world stood still as they processed their response.
Before asking the question, Jesus asked a general question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13) And in response his disciples repeated the various opinions circling around about Him. “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Then Jesus moved from general to personal and added, “But who do you say that I am?” And here we have the question of all questions. A question for the disciples to express their understanding about the man they were following, and then to see if their understanding was right or wrong.
I can imagine the disciples standing before Jesus with sweaty foreheads, looking at each other thinking, “Who is going to answer? I want to say he is…, but what if I’m wrong? What if he isn’t?” And then the long silence is broken and these words come out of Peter’s mouth, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And the next few seconds must have felt like an eternity to Peter. “Did I answer right? He is the Christ, right? Oh, I really hope He is!” And then these words come from Jesus’ mouth, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!” And with that, a huge sigh of relief from Peter.
And since that day until now, the same question has been posed to every human being who hears the news about Jesus of Nazareth, “Who do you say that I am?” And for all those who answer correctly, who affirm He is the Messiah, they should not pat themselves on the back but rather give thanks to God. “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” You see, Peter didn’t just know the right answer; he had been given the right revelation. So don’t rejoice in your knowing this Christmas, rejoice in your Father’s giving.