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.
He entered our world. He breathed our air, shared our pain and walked in our shoes—and then some. He lived our life and then died our death. Jesus could not have identified with us any more closely than He did. It was total identification without any loss of identity. He became one of us without ceasing to be God.
The Bible is clear in pointing out that Jesus Christ was and is God Himself, that He is the Creator and a member of the Trinity. In fact, Jesus said of Himself, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13 NLT). Jesus never had a beginning. Nor will He have an end. He was not created; He is the Creator.
False Teachings and the Truth
When you look at various cults and false teachings, find out what they say about Jesus Christ. If they don’t declare that He is God, then it is false teaching. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was and is God. It’s a foundational truth that we cannot compromise on.
Either we accept it at face value or reject it. There are no other alternatives. And I can tell you this much. Ultimately everyone will come to the same conclusion. Everyone will one day say, “Jesus is Lord.”
Christians will say it, and atheists will say it too. One day everyone will say, “Jesus is Lord.” Now, am I suggesting the entire world will become followers of Jesus?
Not at all. After all, Jesus said, “‘You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it'” (Matthew 7:13–14 NLT).
But I am saying there will come a day, on the other side, in eternity, when everyone will say, “Jesus is Lord.”
This is based on Philippians 2:9–11, which says, “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (NLT).
We cannot deny the obvious. Jesus is Lord. But for many who waited too long to bow, it will do them no good. It will be too late.
Simon Peter, with a flash of inspiration from Heaven, answered Jesus’ question this way: “‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'” (verse 29 NLT).
He got it. That is exactly what Jesus was seeking to convey. He was not a mere man. He was not just one of the prophets. Jesus was God in human flesh.
The birth of Jesus Christ was the most momentous event that ever has occurred on this planet. The eternal God confined Himself to a single cell and was born in the womb of a woman to be the Savior of the world. It was most earth-shaking event that has ever taken place. And Simon Peter, inspired by the Father, grasped this truth.
“Who do you say I am?” The question Jesus asked that day is the most important question that has ever been asked. And it’s one that we all will have to answer, sooner or later.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie
Subscribe to the Greg Laurie Podcast
Originally published at WND.com