Journal Entry // March 19, 2022
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”Luke 9:20 ESV
As I was reading through this section of Luke, I started thinking about this shortened interchange of Jesus and his disciples where Peter gives his great foundational response to who Jesus is. I have always focused on Peter’s response to this question, but this morning I was interested in thinking about what brought Jesus to ask these two questions.
It begins by saying that Jesus was praying alone and the disciples were with him. I found this a bit intriguing as a side note. I wouldn’t normally expect to see that someone was praying alone in the presence of others. Except that this happens often doesn’t it. I can be in a great crowd, but I can pray alone to my Father and converse with him in private. As I thought it through, I realized that Jesus did everything in front of the disciples. He was always teaching them. He was always modelling what it looks like to follow him and fellowship with the Father. So of course there were times where Jesus was praying alone, but wanted his disciples to witness this intimate fellowship with his Father.
It says, that while he was praying he asked the disciples who the crowds said he was. Very intriguing. Was Jesus worried about what others thought of him? That’s an easy answer. No, he was engaging the disciples to get at their hearts. It’s important to know and understand what the crowds are thinking and saying about Jesus. The crowd I choose to be involved with will have a certain slant and tendency to view Christ in a particular manner. Generally, they will tend to focus on a few aspects and major on those. Sometimes to the detriment of his other aspects. It is important for me to be able to discern the truth in these beliefs of the crowds. For they will definitely influence and sway my opinion and worship of Jesus.
From there Jesus gets to the heart of the matter though. He moves into the main question, “But who do you say that I am?” Do I just go along with the crowds? Do I take the simple path of letting the crowd determine my understanding of Jesus? Even if I am following a good crowd filled with godly men and women who teach truth, there is an importance of understanding what I believe and why. Is my understanding of Jesus wrapped up in what a pastor says or teaches? Is my understanding conformed to a particular flavor of church teaching? These are all good to a degree and it is important to fill my mind with good and proper teaching, but ultimately I need to know and understand what I believe.
I need to engage with the Bible myself and wrestle with the truth of God’s word as it penetrates my heart and soul. The crowd is helpful to a degree, but the Spirit working directly on my heart through the Bible is a priority. I must truly know what “I” believe apart from the crowd. This is the great statement of Peter. His answer was not gleaned from the teaching of man. He did not discern the truth of Jesus status from insightful teaching of a famous teacher. No, Peter received this understanding from the Father through the Spirit as he engaged with Christ along the way.
My daily Bible meditations and reflections are key to this. When I miss a couple of days in a row, I can feel the loss. My mind begins to drift. My feet begin to wander. I more easily want to hear “truth” from the crowd. But this daily meditative reflection of God’s word penetrates my heart and mind and soul. Some mornings I dread this time. I dread it because I know I am in sin and I know the gospel is going to shine it’s full light on my hidden sin through my reading and reflection. This is sometimes a painful time. But it’s a good painful. Like an intense workout that burns your muscles and exhausts your body, so too does this engaging with Christ in his Word. It is tough. But it is so amazing over time. My spiritual muscles are so much more toned and developed. My heart is yearning to fellowship with Christ and longing for him as for water after a day of being dehydrated. It is a daily replenishing of my soul. Jesus, keep replenishing me. Keep pursuing me. Keep wooing me. Keep shining the light of your gospel into the deep and dark crevices of my heart. Keep bringing revelation and repentance to my heart.