It was an important milestone in the life and ministry of Jesus—a turning point in His ministry. His time in Galilee was coming to a close. In a short time, He would make the very difficult journey to Jerusalem to ultimately die on a cross.
It was time to prepare the disciples for what lay ahead. So, Jesus said to them, “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29 NLT)
Meaning Behind the Question
We might wonder why Jesus even asked this question of the disciples in the first place. Was it because He was ignorant of what they and others were saying?
No. He wanted to see if they were learning the material, just as a teacher will ask questions of a class to see if the students are processing what is being taught.
The disciples had the privilege of walking and talking with the Savior for some time. They saw His miracles and heard His teachings. They had been able to observe Him up close.
When you get down to it, there are only four alternatives as to who Jesus was: 1) Jesus was a legend; He never existed 2) Jesus was a liar; He lied about who He claimed to be 3) Jesus was a lunatic; He was crazy and had no idea what He was doing, or. . . 4) Jesus was and is God.
There simply are no other alternatives. We all have to come to one of those conclusions.
What’s Your Answer? And Why It’s Important
Who do you say that Jesus is? Was He a mere legend? Was He a liar? Was He a lunatic? Or is He the Lord?
Someone might say, “I don’t like your alternatives, Greg. I say that He was a really cool guy.”
Here’s the problem. Jesus didn’t leave that option open to us. He essentially forces our hand by declaring Himself as the only Lord, the only way to God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NLT).
Before there was a world, before there was a planet, before there was light or darkness, before there was matter, before there was anything but the Godhead, there was Jesus; coequal, coeternal, coexistent. He was with God, and He was God.
There never was a time when Christ did not exist. John’s Gospel, speaking of Jesus, tells us, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1 NLT). In the original language this means that He was continuing.
Used with permission from Greg Laurie.