Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesare’a Philip’pi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men 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, “You are the Christ.”Mark 8:27-29
This conversation in Mark’s gospel comes after Jesus has spent considerable time moving about the countryside. He has healed people, he has taught the crowds, he has walked on water, and he has miraculously fed thousands. Now he is “checking in” with his disciples. He starts with an easy question, “Who do people say that I am?” They have lots of answers for that one. Then he pushes a little harder, “But who do you say that I am?” The group goes silent. Peter emerges, as a leader, and proclaims, “You are the Christ.” In another gospel account of this story, Jesus commends Peter and says, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 16:16).
Jesus is not merely a wandering teacher, healer, miracle-worker, holy man. He is the Messiah. He is the of whom one the prophets foretold, the long-awaited savior of God’s people. His disciples are not just his good buddies, or groupies with whom he pals around. They are the very particular people that He has chosen for a most important task. He wants to make sure that they know who He is, because, when He returns to the Father and leaves the earth, it will be their job to go out to the whole world and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).
In this passage, which is told in some way in all four gospels, we witness Jesus preparing his disciples for their mission, and we see Peter developing as the leader of this group.
If you have a relationship with God, if you feel a closeness with Jesus, it is not just for your own happiness and good. He loves you and he wants to be close to you, but understand that he also has a special job for you. Ask him what that job is. He’ll tell you when the time is right.
At bedtime tonight, pray this prayer, “Here I am Lord, I’ve come to do your will.”