“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?'” (Matthew 16:13-15)
It struck me this morning while thinking about Matthew 16 that even among those who deny the Lord Jesus, or who simply do not know him, even their testimony concerning Him does not agree. Jesus once asked his disciples, “who do men say that I am?” They replied, “some say you are Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” It’s the same today. Ask people who Jesus Christ is and you might receive any number of answers. Some will say he is a myth and that he didn’t even exist. Others will claim he is a prophet, though certainly less than God (at most a manifestation of God). Still others will state most assuredly that Jesus was just a normal man who happened to discover the “Christ” within himself.
But it’s no different now than it was in the first century. Even among those who deny our Lord, or who simply do not know Him yet, their testimony does not agree. They are just guessing, mostly to suit their own personal tastes. They have never tasted the Christ the apostles preached, the Christ Paul knew. They have never tasted the Christ of Colossians, who is before all things, over all things, and in whom all things consist. What a Christ! Had they tasted this Christ they would have ceased from their law and their philosophizing. This Christ is the answer to all things. He is the substance which all men seek, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter what other people say of Christ. It didn’t even seem to matter to the Lord what the disciples said the people of the world thought of Him. All that concerned Him was He who was to those who were following Him. This is because the Lord is not out in this age to gain the world for Himself. In this age He is particularly concerned with the treasure hid within the field of the world. He is chiefly occupied with those who have received Him in the day of His rejection. These will be His Bride for all eternity. And through this people He will gain the world for Himself. So the Lord is not so much concerned with what the unbelieving world thinks of Him. Let them have their opinions. But to those of us who believe, as Peter said, “He is precious.” This is all that matters to Him now. When I fell in love with my wife, no one else’s opinion mattered to me but what she thought of me. All I was concerned with was winning her heart. Everything else to the wind. The Lord Jesus is a lot like that in the present age. He is out to win the heart of His Bride. All the rest He will take care of in the ages to come.
But the question remains for both you and I to consider, and it comes straight from the mouth of the Lord Himself: “Who do you say that I am?”