Jesus was praying, Luke 9:18, on the road, Mark 8:27, in the region of Caesarea Philippi, Matthew 16:13, when his disciples joined Him and He asked this question. “Who do the crowds say that I am? So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”
Today we would hear some of the crowds singing the little song, “Jesus loves me this I know because the Bible tells me so,” for lack of anything else to say. Jesus was taking them deeper and more personal building a foundation to send them into all the world with the gospel so He asked, “But, who do you say that I am?”
In John 14:9, Jesus asked this question of a disciple, “Have I been with you so long and yet you have not known me, Philip?” Jesus wants us to know who He is and what He is to all those that trust Him for salvation and dependence on Him.
This question, “Who do men say that I am” comes in the context of Matthew 16 where Jesus is dealing with the Pharisees and Sadducees ideas about trusting God and not man. In verse 5 we see the disciples were worried about not having bread with them and in verse 6 we hear Jesus say, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And the disciples reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” What in the world were they thinking?
Then Jesus laid into His future missionaries with these words, “Oh you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?” The Pharisees trust in works and doing all the right things man’s way, but Jesus wants them to understand the bread is no big deal with Him.
If we can just remember as missionaries all the great things He has done in the past and keep our eyes on Him, He will supply the bread, wheat or the green stuff we call money to meet our needs. Question, who do you say Jesus is, could it be that we have been with Jesus so long and yet do not know who He is?
As missionaries we need to remember and understand the loaves. When we do not understand the loaves we can become fearful in times of trouble, Mark 6:52 and begin to reason among ourselves and with ourselves things that are not true about Jesus and His word, Matthew 16:7.
Remembrance is the fuel that powers faith from the past to the heights of the future and things hoped for and not seen. Remember Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever and the Savior of all those that believe the gospel message. Jack Housley