In 1982 I travelled with a group of about 80 choir members to Israel to participate in a countrywide concert tour. One of the places where we gave an open-air concert was the amphitheatre at Caesarea. While standing there I was reminded of the discussion Jesus had with his disciples in that same area. When arriving in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples: “what are people saying about who I am? “They told Him that some said He was Elijah, some thought he might be John the Baptist, some said Jeremiah or one of the other prophets”. Then Jesus asked them a pivotal question: “…and you, who do you say that I am?” Matt 16:13-18
If Jesus had to ask you that question today- what will your answer be? Who do you say Jesus is? You might call Him a great historical figure, or even a part of the deity. If you call Him a good teacher, you have probably been impacted by some or other of His instructions, if you call Him a prophet or a healer, you have possibly seen or heard some of his prophecies or miracles.
The Bible describes Jesus as Prince of Peace, Bread of Life, Light of the World, Almighty One, Alpha and Omega, Deliverer, the Good Shepherd, the Head of the Church, Immanuel, Indescribable Gift, Lion of Judah, Our Hope, Redeemer, Risen Lord, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace and many more.
I asked myself the same question and because of what I have experienced in my own life and seen in the lives of others I call Him Restorer, Healer of hearts and Giver of Joy and Hope. But let’s have a look at what Simon’s answer to that question was:
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matt 16:16-18)
When Simon acknowledged that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus responded that this was not something that any man could have told him and only God in heaven could have given him that insight. Then something amazing happened. As Simon acknowledged who Jesus was Jesus redefined and renamed Simon and in a single sentence, he gave him his life destiny.
I believe that fulfilling your destiny is possible once you acknowledge who Jesus is, the Christ, our Saviour, Son of the Living God. He is, after all, the One who created you with a purpose and a specific design and once you acknowledge Him you put yourself in a position to fulfil that which you were created for. It’s comparable to applying a tool for that which it was designed: it just works beautifully. He is able to redefine you, He can take all of your successes, past mistakes, good and bad decisions and heal your heart and emotions to such an extent that you are a new person, able to give and bring about hope and change to those around you.
Before Jesus renamed Peter, he addressed him by his given name Simon and confirmed Simon’s heritage as being the son of Jonah. Jesus, therefore, acknowledged exactly who Simon was up to that moment. Yet, the saying has never been truer than in this situation: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Your destiny is not fulfilled by your knowledge, your heritage or even your dreams, it is fulfilled when you know who Jesus is and when you commit to His leading and Lordship in your life.
It’s not about Jesus wanting to know what you call Him, it’s about Him wanting you to know who He is and how much He loves you.
..and you, who do you say He is?