In Luke 9, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say that I am (Luke 9:18)?” Herod, ruler of Galilee, had asked a similar question after he “was told of all that was done by Him” (Luke 9:7). Chuza, Herod’s estate manager and husband of Joanna, one of Jesus’ followers, bows low, “Sir, remember that rabbi Jesus? He healed my wife and is healing many others. Thousands are gathering from every village in Galilee to hear Him.” The Capernaum Port director speaks next, “Evidently, this Jesus can control the weather. He and his disciples were crossing Lake Galilee when a windstorm blew down from Mt. Hermon. As their boat was sinking, Jesus rebuked the wind and instantly the entire lake was calm.” “Remember hearing about that naked, deranged man over in the country of the Gadarenes?” asked the customs director. “Jesus cast out his demons. Now that former demoniac is walking around clothed, in his right mind and telling everyone how Jesus healed him.”
“Any other reports?” Herod asks. “Yes,” says the mayor of Capernaum, “Jesus resurrected the daughter of Jairus, one of the rulers of Capernaum’s synagogue. Then he sent his twelve disciples out all over Galilee preaching and healing. It’s like Jesus is in twelve places at once.” Perplexed, Herod finally asks, “Who is this man of whom I hear such things?” (Luke 9:9). His security chief replied, “Some are saying that John has risen from the dead” (Luke 9:7). “No, that can’t be! I beheaded John. Who else?” “Some wonder if Elijah has appeared. Others say that one of the old prophets has risen.” “I must meet Him and find out who He is.” Herod looks at his staff still perplexed, “Go, find a way for me to meet Him.”
The question, “Who is Jesus?” is the question everyone must answer. Both Herod and Jesus’ disciples faced this question after Jesus has preached “the glad tidings of the kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1), and had proved His authority over nature, demons, disease, and death.” Jesus did all this before He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that I am,” He provided everything they needed, including multiplying five loaves and two fishes into 5,000 plus meals.
The disciples’ answer to Jesus’ question of what people are saying about Him, is identical to the answer given to Herod: Some say You are John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the old prophets risen again. But then Jesus asks a different and more personal question: “But who do you say that I am?” (Luke 19:20).
This is the most important question you will ever be asked. In fact, it is the only question that really matters. As you read Peter’s response, chose to make it your answer: “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20).
Douglas Jacobs, D.Min.
Professor of Church Ministry and Homiletics
School of Religion, Southern Adventist University