Who do you say I am? It was the most important question Peter was ever asked. People did not know what to make of this Jesus. He was like no other rabbi. His claims about Himself were outrageous and way out of line if He were merely human. Two thousand years had passed since God promised Abraham that through his seed all nations would be blessed. A thousand years had passed since God promised David that his descendant would reign forever. Now, in Jesus, God’s marathon plan of redemption was sprinting toward its climax. Peter’s answer to the question would change his life forever.
“You are the Messiah,” Peter confessed. Then Jesus began to teach His disciples that this messianic mission included suffering, death, and a resurrection from the dead. They objected to this idea of a Messiah, but Jesus rebuked them. His mission was set and no one could come between Him and the cross. In fact, He taught His disciples that they too would need to lose their lives to save them.
Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a mountain and gave them a glimpse of His future glorification. When He was transfigured before their very eyes, they fell face down in fear. Jesus had often made “I Am” statements connecting Himself to the name Yahweh or “I Am.” Then a voice from heaven stated that Jesus was the Son of God, thereby confirming His assertions.
I AM the light of the world. I AM the bread of life. Jesus declared that failure to believe in Him would have eternal consequences—you would die in your sins. But the Pharisees knew full well the weight of the “I AM” statements – and Jesus’ claims to be God were, to them, nothing short of blasphemy. From then on, their hatred of Him ripened into an assassination plot.
I AM the resurrection and the life. Despite getting word that His friend Lazarus was on his deathbed, Jesus delayed His journey. By the time He arrived, Lazarus had been entombed for four long days. Sisters Mary and Martha mourned their brother’s death, disappointed that Jesus had not arrived in time to heal him, but Jesus assured the women that His delay was for divine glory. At His command, Lazarus walked out of his tomb, proving Jesus’ assertion that He alone is the Source of life.
The march toward Jerusalem continued. His time was fast approaching and He had to prepare the
disciples for what lay ahead. He told them that the kingdom of God is accessible to those with childlike trust and humility, not through performance. Along the way, Jesus met a rich young man who had performed well since childhood. Jesus told him that discipleship, for him, would mean giving away his riches. Unable to part with earthly wealth, the young man walked away from Jesus’ offer. So strong is the lure of riches that, as far as the gospels record, this is the only time Jesus’ offer was refused.
For the third time, Jesus told them that His work included suffering, death, and a resurrection after three days. Now it was time for Jesus’ grand entrance. He sent His disciples to fetch appropriate transportation and a colt was just where Jesus said it would be. He mounted the donkey and triumphantly rode into Jerusalem as people laid down their coats and branches on the road and hailed Him as the long awaited King, son of David!
Jesus was preparing to glorify the Father’s name. He continued to offer eternal life to all who would believe. The incensed Pharisees instilled fear in many; some who did believe kept quiet. But Jesus’ claims were non-negotiable; He was the only Source of eternal life, the culmination of God’s redemptive plan. Who do you say I am? It is the single most important question that everyone must answer, even today.
What are examples of how Jesus gives us the "way, the truth, and the life"?