Who do you say I am? (Mark 8:29)

QUESTIONS ABOUND ABOUT the identity of Jesus and what His identity really means for us. Those who lived in Palestine during the three years or so of Jesus’ public ministry may have had, if they were fortunate enough, opportunity to see and hear Him on occasion. Most of them were probably busy scratching out a living like we are, but in most cases having to exert much more effort than we do in accomplishing the daily chores necessary to stay fed and housed. Much of their knowledge about Jesus came to them secondhand, and prejudiced opinions from the religious professionals held considerable sway.

Like then, today opinions vary, but the consensus seems to be that Jesus was someone special, perhaps more than just a teacher, maybe even a divinely inspired prophet. In the Christian churches, we have settled the literal question, taking our cue from Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). Our challenge today is not so much in discovering His true identity, but in finding out exactly what this identity means for us both individually and corporately. This knowledge cannot be obtained casually, nor can it come secondhand. Peter received his knowledge by spending a great deal of time with Jesus, and from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It still works this way today.

Take no shortcuts in your knowledge of God.

Bill Beck, with wife Lisa and daughter Katie, enjoys life in the Black Hills of South Dakota.