Who is Jesus? This is an important question to answer correctly. Our answer determines our willingness to follow and obey Him.
In Mark 8 Jesus asks the disciples what people were saying about Him. The responses may have appeared flattering to some as the disciples listed off people like John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the other prophets. But even these high views of Jesus were not high enough. Jesus then asks the disciples who they believe Him to be. Peter once again serves as the spokesperson of the group and responds that He is the Christ. And He was right, sort of.
It is in the following passage that we learn that Peter and the disciples may have answered correctly on the test, but they still didn’t understand the material. When Jesus begins to plainly teach what it means for Him to be the Christ (He must suffer, and die, and rise again in three days) Peter (and probably the other disciples) do not like what they hear. Peter then takes it upon Himself to correct Jesus’s incorrect understanding of His mission. You can imagine how that worked out for Peter.
After rebuking Peter’s rebuke, Jesus provides a statement intended for all believers. Jesus makes it clear that for anyone who follows Him there will be suffering. Those who call themselves disciples of Jesus must be willing to deny themselves and follow Him. Sound hard? It is. In fact Jesus says that it is impossible for us to do this on our own. Only by remaining connected to Jesus and abiding in Him can we see Him bear fruit in and through us to do this (John 15:5).
And the good news is that this self-denial and suffering leads to an incredible reward. Jesus says that anyone who loses his life for Him will save it. Those who follow Jesus can count on the promise that it will be worth it. Both in eternity and even in this life with the joy and happiness found in a life devoted to God.
But now we come back full circle to the original question. Who is Jesus? How you answer this will determine if you will follow Him. Obviously, you must believe that He is who He says He is. You don’t want to follow a madman or simply a good teacher that has been dead for 2000 years. But if Jesus really is the Son of God and the Sovereign King of the Universe then that person deserves to be followed.
But I also realize in my own life I have to continually be asking myself this question. Because over time I can forget who Jesus is. I can forget that He is the King and I am not. I can forget that I live for His glory and not my own. He is not my spiritual Santa Claus that is supposed to provide me with the American Dream along with good health and low taxes.
No, Jesus is the King. I live for His glory. He guides my life, my purpose, my dreams. And so, I must continually saturate my mind with the truth of God’s Word and remind myself of who Jesus really is and what it means to follow Him. And the great thing is, that as I do this, I discover that His plan for my life has always been better than anything I could plan on my own.