“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’… From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must… be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matthew 16:15-16, 21)
In the Bible, the four Gospels are largely accounts of Jesus and His disciples. He spent three years in ministry when He was on earth, and His disciples were with Him for the majority of that time. They had been with Him for about two years when he asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”
There is more riding on that statement than it seems. Jesus first asked His disciples what others thought of Him; who did other people say He was? They replied with things like “John the Baptist” or “Elijah”; both godly men who were widely revered in common culture. But when Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was, their answer was different. To them, He wasn’t just any man—He was the Son of God, their promised Savior. It was only after they admitted this that Jesus began to tell them His true purpose on earth. He hadn’t come just to heal the sick; He had come to save the world from sin.
The key here is that Jesus didn’t start teaching the disciples about His death and resurrection until they confessed him as the Christ, their Savior. He didn’t reveal this to anyone outside of His disciples until after His resurrection. Those who believed He was just a man couldn’t understand that He had come to earth to die for the sins of the entire world. It wouldn’t have made any sense to them.
The same principle applies today. Many people, though they admit that Jesus existed, don’t see Him as anything more than a good man. As such, they don’t believe that He actually died for them. If people don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then they will have no reason to believe that He sacrificed Himself for them. That is why we still must answer Jesus’ question— “Who do you say that I am?” Your entire belief rests on your answer. People have their own opinions on the matter, but there is only one answer.
To you, who is Jesus? If He came to you today and asked you, “Who do you say that I am?”, what would you answer?