This question was asked of the disciples by Jesus himself after asking them another: “Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” Their answers varied on this question as many people had seen Jesus and had thier own opinions. Some thought He was John the Baptist, some Elijah, some thought He was Jeremiah and yet others just thought He was a prophet. (Matthew 16:13,14)
But when Jesus asked the disciples “Who do you say I am?” Peter, answers and said “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” I can just see the disciples sitting around in a circle and Peter, with excitement in his eyes, jumping up like a child who has suddenly realized he has the answer. Then Jesus says to Peter “Blessed art thou, Simon; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, who is in Heaven.”(Matthew 16:17)
I can see the crowds associating Jesus with Elijah. Remember he is the one who called down fire from Heaven that burned the offering, the water that he ordered them to place on the offering and the altar. Jesus had been seen doing many miracles not withstanding feeding four thousand with only seven loaves of bread and a few fish.
The disciples walked with Jesus. They talked with Jesus. A chosen few of His dearest had prayed with Him…standing guard for Him as He prayed. They had a realtionship with Jesus…especially Peter who was one Jesus’ dearest. And yet upon Jesus being arrested Peter denied Him three times.
Why? I believe it is simple…Peter was scared for his life. Jesus had just been arrested and there was a mob of folks there asking him if he knew Jesus. He did know what would happen to Jesus much less himself, had he answered yes to anyone.
How many of us today are scared? I mean come on we have Christians being beheaded just because they follow Jesus. Not too much has changed over the centuries. Think about it. Disciples were stoned, hung upside down on crosses, some were placed in the arena only to be killed by the gladiator or animals, usually lions, in the ring, and some I am sure had harsher deaths.
I do not neccessarily mean scared for your life, though that time may come. How many of us do not stand up for Jesus due to fear of what others will think? How many of us do not share the love of God that has been given to us through the death of Jesus and the Holy Spirit because we are just simply afraid to get out of our comfort zones? How many of us are scared to truly follow Jesus because we do not know what will happen to us or our loved ones based on our choice?
Stephen was stoned. Word got out fairly quickly I am sure for that day and time. The disciples heard of his death. I am sure some where afraid for the safety of their family much less their own life. But Jesus asked Peter after His resurrection that sums it all up. Jesus asked “Peter, do you love me?” Peter, of course said “Yes, thou knowest that I love thee.”. Jesus said “Feed my Sheep.” (John 21:15-17)
We as disciples of Jesus, those of us who claim to follow Him are, as Peter, called to feed His sheep. Peter, knowing the risk at hand still shared the Gospel of Jesus to the people around him. Remember the disciples walked with Jesus. They had a personal relationship with Jesus. Therefore, I doubt very seriously that they had forgotten Jesus’ word “The servant is not greater than his lord, If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you, if they have kept my saying they will keep yours.” (John 15:20) They were living that statement.
Today, we know of the beheadings ISIS carries out. We know of the persecution of believing business owners who stand behind their convictions. Heck, I have been persecuted for my stances..even by my own family at times. I know that many of you have been persecuted in one form or another in your life.
I have a question for you…If Jesus came to you and asked you the question “Who do you say I am?” What would your answer be? Would you be as Peter, jumping up with joy because you know the answer because of your relationship with Him? Or..would you be like many in today’s society that still consider him to be just a prophet. Or worse…a fairytale. This, I find strange considering it has been proven that Jesus Christ did in fact live…but with that knowledge they still deny Him.
The thing is that I know I will be persecuted for my beliefs because I am following Jesus. i do know who He is. HE IS the son of God. He is my Savior. He is the one who died on the cross for my sins. It was through His life and death that I have forgiveness.It is through His resurrection that I have the Holy Spirit living inside me giving me direction. The Holy Spirit also convicts me when I am wrong or even after doing something that I did not know was wrong. I have a realtionship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I will feed His sheep because I, like Peter, love Jesus.
Do you love Jesus? If so, will you feed His sheep? Will you share Jesus with others even if it means getting out of your comfort zone?
I hope so…for there is plenty of room on the front lines.