If you read the first half of Mark’s biography about Jesus, you’ll notice that Jesus does some remarkable things. Healing sickness. Wise teaching. Astonishing miracles. Walking on water. Those who witnessed these events continually asked the question “WHO IS THIS MAN?” It’s a good question to consider. Who is Jesus?
Chapter 8 is the turning point of Mark’s biography. In the midst of lots of people trying to work out his identity, Jesus asks his followers what conclusions people have come up with.
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” (Mark chapter 8 verses 27-28)
John the Baptist, Elijah and one of the Prophets are important answers because each of these people are significant religious figures in the Bible. At least by this point in the story people are concluding that Jesus is significant. Jesus then pushes the question further by redirecting it to his close friends.
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. (Mark chapter 8 verses 29-30)
Jesus’ warning to his followers to keep his identity to themselves would suggest that Peter was right: Jesus is the Messiah. This is the most significant claim that Jesus can make.
‘Messiah’ is a strange word that we don’t use in common 21st Century conversations! Who is this ‘Messiah’? In the Old Testament, the first half of the Bible, ‘Messiah’ was a title given to the King anointed by God. The Jewish expectation was that God would one day send THE Messiah, who would be the King of Kings and rule the world in a unique way.
Jesus is claiming to be that King. This claim is not only significant for God’s people in the 1st Century, but for all people in all times and places!
If we were to conduct a survey today asking people who they think Jesus is, there would be many and various responses. Ultimately what matters is that we recognise Jesus to be who he claims to be.
Who is this man? He is the King. If that’s the case, it’s worth giving your attention to him.