“Who do people say I am?” (Mark 8:27)
Perception and image are important. When people think well of someone or something, they want to belong. When perception or image is negative, people distance themselves.
One day, as Jesus and his disciples traveled through Galilee, he asked, “Who do people say I am?” His disciples repeated the common theories of the day: he was a reincarnation of Moses or Elijah, or perhaps another prophet.
Our Savior then repeated the question, changing one word to aim it at his audience: “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29a). The Master Teacher did this for the sake of his hearers. To this, Peter boldly proclaimed, “You are the Messiah” that is, the Anointed One, the Deliverer (Mark 8:29b).
Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). He is to be revered and trusted. He is also to be the focus of our lives and behavior.
Yet, we don’t always live for Jesus. Our sinful nature overcomes our good intentions. We say and do things that defame Jesus and his Church. The public comes away thinking that Christianity is shallow and powerless to effect change.
We need to understand that our “friendship with the world”—evidenced by sinful actions— “means enmity against God” (James 4:4). When we publicly contradict God’s command to love him and others as ourselves, we “preach a sermon.” We tell others that we may say and do what we want since we are above God and his Word.
At these times, God lead us to see the damage we do. May he confront us with the law to realize our sin and turn from it. After this, may he assure us through the gospel that we are forgiven because Christ fully paid sin’s price.
“Who do you say I am?” By God’s grace, may you and I confess that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
God, give us strong spirits of faith to live for and serve you.
Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or firstname.lastname@example.org