Jesus asked the question “who do you say that I am”. (Mark 8: 28) Peter responded by saying he was the Christ; for the Christian that has become our standard answer. A better question for today’s Christian might be “how do you believe Jesus is the Christ?”
At that time Jesus had a large following of people from all walks of life. There were Jewish leaders, labors, house wives, business owners, military, the sick, the poor and the wealthy, all groups of people could be found following him. Each on could be placed into one of four types of people. The military who had no real opinion of him, the Jewish leaders who rejected his teachings, those who wanted something from him and the disciples who wanted to know God’s word. Today let us look at this last group as to why did they want to learn more of God.
In John 6 Jesus starts teaching about his mission here on earth and many stopped following him. This may have been the reason Jesus asked who they thought he was. At Peter’s response Jesus tells them that the Spirit revealed this to them. Also in John 6, Jesus tells them that the father draws them to himself and in John 12 Jesus tells them that he will draw all people to himself. If Jesus draws all people to himself then why will only a few follow him?
Jesus tells the story of the sower and the seeds. Some fell on ground where the seeds could not grow, some seeds were eaten by the birds. Some could not take root and some started to grow but soon were choked out. Yet other seeds fell on fertile ground. We are the ground and the word of God is the seed. Some of us, for some reason, can not accept the word of God. Others accept the word of God but as time passed they start to watch others and get their eyes off of God and fall away. Still others will accept the word of God and grow in God’s grace through the word. Let us take a lesson from John when Jesus walked on the water. When John took his eyes off of Jesus he began to sink but when he refocused on Jesus he was saved.
For those of us who follow Christ, we can not offer any real proof for our faith, we can only tell others what God has done for us. Our faith is based on what God has revealed to us and what he has done for us even when things did not go our way. We have seen God take us through difficult times and he will always be with us even in death. We keep our eyes on Jesus and not the thing that are going on around us. A great quote is from Thomas Aquinas: “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
Have you answered Jesus’ question for yourself? What you believe about Jesus will determine how well you are able to imitate him. As we grow in our faith the Spirit of Christ becomes stronger in us. There will come a time that we can say that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. It is when we see Christ living in us that we are imitators of Christ.