Pastor Russ Belmont
Calvary Baptist Church, Concord
Matthew 16:13-14 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked the disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
This passage is a great example of Jesus’ discipleship to His twelve followers. It was a time spent not just watching and listening to Jesus, but time to reflect on how it applied to their lives as His followers. They stepped away from their busy surroundings, where Jesus would ask them the deeper, richer, and more profound questions that molded their thinking, and therefore, changed their lives. Jesus asked them clarifying questions to help them understand who He was.
The people in the crowds thought Jesus was a great man, one who somehow came from God, a messenger of sorts, like the famous prophets of all time. It was difficult for the people to comprehend where this wonder worker came from. Jesus spoke, fed, healed, and worked many types of miracles in the presence of thousands of people, yet they didn’t personalize their experience. These people received the blessings and witnessed the miracles of Jesus, but they didn’t know Him personally, so they could not understand who He actually was.
Invitation to challenge:
In a similar way, crowds around us see Jesus in the same manner. In some ways, it is beneficial to know what people are thinking, so that we can speak to their misinterpretations. But, it can also be a negative factor for our personal walk with Jesus. For instance, we can let the misunderstandings of non-believers incorrectly shape our beliefs, rather than knowing the truth of God’s Word. Or possibly, we might allow the hypocrisy of others to attract our time and attention away from keeping our eyes on Jesus. That is why it is important to continually step away from our busy lives and ask the deep questions, like Jesus did of His disciples. Whatever the case may be, you might challenge yourself by asking: Am I in a discipleship group that invites me into a richer personal relationship with Jesus? Do they ask me the deeper questions that will lead me to life-changing answers?
Prayer: Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You alone, no matter what surrounds me. Help me to pull away and spend quality time with You, and not be distracted by the thoughts and ways of the world.