Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Salvation and Stilettos Blog

WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM? Matthew 16:13-17


Matthew 16:13-17 NIV

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.


BlogFam, have you ever in your life cared about what someone or a group of people thought about you? Tell the truth. Most, if not all, of us have asked another person, a friend, a family member, even someone we have just met, Who do people say that I am? And I have no doubt that we ask this question for so many different reasons, the answer to which we hope will be something positive, favorable, nice, maybe even encouraging.

I know there are lots of people who might tell you not to worry or even care what people think about you or what people say about you. I heard a quote that goes something like - What others think about me is none of my business.... or something to that effect. In other words, do not worry what others are saying or thinking about you. I can appreciate that advice to a certain extent but when I reconsider this quote in light of my Lord's question, I am forced to at least ponder - Who do people say that I am?

Now, let me be clear. I do not think that Jesus was necessarily feeling any kind of insecurity when he poses the question. And I believe that in his divinity, he already knew the answer. Yet, Jesus still asks the question - Who do people say that I am?

Why does Jesus ask this question?
Why does Jesus, of all people, care what others think about Him?

Now, I know that ultimately Peter answers the question correctly, after Jesus reframes the question directly to the disciples.

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  

BUT before Jesus asks those closest to Him to reveal their personal ideas regarding his identification, He wants to know what His reputation is on the streets. "Who do PEOPLE say the Son of Man is?”

Friends, I have a question for YOU. Who do PEOPLE say that YOU are? What is the word on the street about YOU? What kind of reputation do YOU have? With whom or what is YOUR name associated? What do people think about when they hear YOUR name?

While I do think that we ought not be controlled or consumed by the opinions of others, I do think that there is space in our minds for us to at least be concerned. I do believe Jesus was at least concerned about what people thought about Him. He wanted to know what the people were saying or else, I do not think Jesus would have asked the question - 

"Who do PEOPLE say the Son of Man is?”

And they replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 

Now, obviously, the answer that was given fell short of the true nature of Jesus identity as the Son of God and the Son of Man. But what did you expect from PEOPLE who were cautiously reluctant to embrace Him as the Messiah, the One for whom they had been waiting for generations? The people's response is NOT surprising. It underestimates the totality of ALL that Jesus had come to this earth to be and to do. It discounts His power and dismiss His potential to save their souls from sin. It reinforces that they really did not know who Jesus was.

AND in my estimation, the same can happen to us. PEOPLE have a tendency to underestimate who God has created YOU to be and what God has assigned for YOU to do. PEOPLE will discount your authority and dismiss your potential to be the answer to their prayers, the leader of their group, the friend that they need in this season of their lives. YOU just might have the kind of reputation that does NOT fully embrace your identity as God's chosen vessel.

However, while the PEOPLE may not get it ALL right about you, you should at least be concerned whether or not your reputation is synonymous with your identity as a Child of the Most High! This is what I mean. The PEOPLE did not identify Jesus as their Messiah BUT He at least had the kind of reputation that associated Him with people of FAITH... John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. A prophetic association was NOT that bad considering He did later ask the disciples to keep his identity a secret.   

So, what about YOU?

Do YOU at least have the kind of reputation that PEOPLE would associate you 
as a person of FAITH? Do people think of YOU as being a Child of God, a servant in the Kingdom? What kind of reputation do YOU have? Who do people say that YOU are?

Again, my friends, I do not think we should be controlled or consumed by the fluctuating opinions of people, but we should at least be concerned enough about what they say such that the reputation of our witness in the earth brings glory to God!


Who do people say that YOU are?

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