What is the most significant question anyone has ever asked you? (Not counting that one.) Think about this now. Probably, you’ll quickly eliminate those which you’ve been asked repeatedly:
· Would you like fries with that?
· Did you remember to put out the garbage?
· Can I interest you in a great offer on long distance services?
· Got milk?
Your mind skips instead to the “biggies” you have been asked only once or still long to hear:
· Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?
· Will you accept the position?
· For one million dollars, is that your final answer?
And then there are those questions we hope we’re never asked:
· Sorry to wake you, Ma’am, but is this your son?
· Where were you on the night of...?
· Have you ever used…lied about…been convicted of…cheated on...? You can fill in the blank.
Sometimes one seemingly simple question holds enough power to send us into a tailspin. Jesus Christ proved himself a master at asking questions. Often, he answered others’ questions with another question—a technique I find irritating when it’s used on me because it forces me to think, and I don’t always want to think. When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to catch him off-guard with tricky questions, he came back with clever questions of his own, beating them at their game and leaving them speechless. (For more on this, check out Matthew 12:9-14 and 22:15-22.)
Whichever question you deem the most significant pales in comparison to the life and death question Jesus asked his disciples in Mark chapter 8. It’s the same question he will eventually ask you and me: “Who do you say I am?” Like his disciples, we can easily deliver the things others say about Jesus. A good man. A prophet. A holy man. An example. A legend. A little misguided. A naive idealist. A boat-rocking, rabble-rousing rebel.
But what others say won’t matter one whit when the day comes that you find yourself face to face with Jesus and he asks “Who do YOU say I am?” This Easter season, you owe it to yourself to check out the claims he made about himself and decide what your answer will be.
What was it that riled those leaders so much they wanted him destroyed? Do you really think he’d have been put to a brutal death for being a good teacher, a loving healer, or even a little misguided?
It was his claim to be the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah, the Resurrection and the Life, that got him nailed to a cross. How dare he? If that’s who he was, it meant he possessed authority, a closely guarded commodity already diminished by the presence of a foreign government. Any further threats, even from God himself, were unthinkable. No wonder they would do anything to prevent this man from influencing the crowds. Too bad they were so short-sighted they missed the most significant question of all: “Who do YOU say I am?”
Don’t let it happen to you.