“And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they told him, ‘John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’ And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.”

Ultimately this is the question everyone needs to ask themselves about who exactly Jesus is. Answers abound in our day just as in the day of Jesus. In the day of Christ, some said he was a prophet, Elijah, or John the Baptist. In our day, people say he was a great teacher, maybe the best of all moral instructors, or that he was merely a man of mystery who changed the course of history. Yet these responses all miss the mark of the only two responses we can have: he was either a lunatic liar or He was exactly who He made Himself out to be, the Christ. Many in our day seem to only read the sermon on the mount when making a conclusion about who Jesus is. Deepak Chopra is one example. He “[carries] the Sermon on the Mount with [him] wherever [he goes] and [tries] to live by it.” Jesus is just a moral example to him. They fail to read all the other instances in which Jesus says things that are extremely hard to hear (concerning election, His judgment of the unbelieving, His exclusive claims of authority over all things), making Himself equal with God even, the supreme authority of the universe. When concluding who Jesus is, you cannot ignore the controversial statements he made.

“Who do you say that I am?” This question is very important for believers and unbelievers. For unbelievers, who you say Jesus is determines your eternal fate. If he is just a moral example, as with Chopra, then he is no different than any other person in the world and has no power to deliver you. He’s just an ideal, not one who bore the wrath you deserve on your behalf, not one who redeemed you from certain eternal death. Yet He is the Christ, the supreme commander of the universe, and on that day of final judgment, Jesus will say to you who reject Him, “I never knew you.” That is a frightening prospect if He is the great commander of the universe. For believers, who you say Jesus is today has everything to do with personal holiness and conformity to Him. For example, though you may confess Christ as your Lord and Savior and indeed be saved, does He have any bearing on decisions you make throughout the day, from small to large ones? If not, then in your heart, you are not regarding Christ as the King of the universe. But if He is the center of your world, then He reigns supreme and directs you in the way you should go, to His glory.

Just consider this question: who do you say Jesus is? And then turn to the Scriptures, ask God to reveal Christ to your heart through what you read, and seek God to grant you greater love for Christ.