When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that 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.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
–Matthew 16:13-16 (NLT)
When I was a kid, I looked for ways to rebel against what we called the establishment, or the conventional way of doing things. I grew my hair long (much to my father’s displeasure). I had just become a Christian, so I often went to Christian concerts, sat on the floor for Bible study, and went to church in the park. Since I wanted to be free of society’s restraints, I would hitchhike wherever I wanted to go. I remember one of these hitchhiking incidents quite vividly.
A truck pulled onto the shoulder of the road to pick me up. Upon noticing my blindness, he started honking his horn so I could follow the sound to his truck. I found his vehicle easily enough, but I couldn’t find the door for the longest time. Apparently he was a patient man, because he didn’t leave. He waited for me to enter the truck before driving away.
That is like our relationship with God. He calls to us, but many times we can’t find the proverbial door, because we are too busy trying to find freedom on our own. In spite of this, however, God will never get tired of waiting or turn away. Jesus wants us to lay our own works down, and simply come to him. But we try to do this on our own, and like a person who is blind, many of us find it impossible to find the door, and this is where the analogy breaks down. We will never find the entrance into God’s kingdom on our own. To see this, look again at the above scripture with me.
In the first two verses, Jesus asks what the general public is saying about him. Their answer is not too different than it would be today. Some people say he was an amazing prophet, while others think he was a superstar who worked miracles and fed the crowds.
Secondly, while Jesus called to his disciples in this story, I think it’s all too easy to miss the fact that he is calling to you today, in the 21st century. He asks you and me, “Who do you say that I am?” Notice how confusion reigns in the disciples’ answers, as they try to solve this puzzle on their own.
But don’t you and I do the same thing? Jesus wasn’t talking about just changing externals. There must first be a change in our hearts, and he is the only one who can bring this about. He told us in John 3 that being born again or answering God’s call would lead us to an unspeakable freedom, but many times we are bound by our own chains. Only God can break the chains in our lives, and He will do this when we yield to Him as Peter did when he said, “You are the Christ.” Jesus’ personal question rings throughout history, and each of us have to answer it for ourselves.
Have you been trying to find freedom on your own? Just as I needed that truck driver to help me find him, I encourage you to let God help you find the door that has eluded you today, and ask Him to help you confess that He alone is the Christ.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You may also send your donation to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870.
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