Do WE acknowledge JESUS as the ‘CHRIST’ of our LIVES? Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?" So they answered, "John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." (Mark 8:27-29)
This was the first time in Mark’s narrative that the name ‘Christ’ appears after the title (1:1), and Peter’s recognition that Jesus is ‘the Christ’ is pivotal in the Gospel of Mark. ‘Christ’ (in Greek ‘Christos’) means ‘The Anointed One’. The Hebrew equivalent of Christ is ‘Messiah’, which was originally a title for Jesus (see 14:61, 62). Matthew adds to this title “the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).
As a background of this incident recorded above, Jesus and His disciples sought solitude in the far north in some towns called Caesarea Philippi. These towns were named in honor of Caesar Augustus and lay north of Galilee at the foot of Mount Hermon. It was an isolated place where Jesus could talk undisturbed with His disciples. As they were approaching the towns, Jesus suddenly asked His disciples two vital questions that would take His ministry to the next level:
- “Who do men say that I am?” (8:27).
- “Who do you say that I am?” (8:29).
The disciples were quick to answer that other people believed that He was more or less a powerful religious leader such as John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the Old Testament prophets. Even King Herod’s counselors saw Him that way (6:14–16). But Peter had settled in His own mind about who Jesus was, and so he immediately stepped forward to answer the second question: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (8:29; Matt. 16:16). In doing so, Peter promptly declared Him to be the Christ, that is, the Messiah, or the Anointed One!
Life would never be the same for Peter as he could never be satisfied with a self-centered existence any more. If Christ was the Messiah, then Peter must now live for Him in total abandonment! The key point of the incident, however, is that Peter acknowledged publicly that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. He was much more than just the Messiah of the Jews; He was the Savior of the whole world.
If Jesus were to ask us the same question that He had asked His disciples two thousand years ago, what would be our answer? Are we willing to acknowledge that Jesus is the ‘Christ’ of our lives? Are we willing to confess that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh, who had come into our world to redeem us from sin and death? Let this be the top priority in our agenda today!