“What about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
— Matthew 16:15-16
A trip to Israel, to visit places where Jesus walked, may include a stop at Banias in the northern part of the country. Banias was a settlement at the foot of Mount Hermon, and a spring from there makes a river that flows into the Jordan River. At the time of Jesus’ ministry, Banias was called Panias and was dedicated to the worship of the Greek god Pan.
So it is not surprising that as Jesus and his disciples went into that area, he asked them a defining question: “Who do you say I am?” In other words, “Do you recognize me for who I really am, or am I just another object of worship like you see here? How do you discern my person, my teaching, and my miracles?”
Peter, inspired by God, responded by saying, “You are the Messiah”—that is, the Christ (“Anointed One”). Peter declared that Jesus was the anointed Son of God who came to bring the kingdom of God. Jesus came to restore all that is broken by sin.
Decidedly different from false Greek gods and the worship they were known for, Jesus is the true “Son of the living God.” Jesus is the real thing.
Who do you say Jesus is?
Loving God, you sent Jesus into this world to provide freedom for everyone held captive by sin, suffocating under the lies of spiritual darkness. Thank you for guiding us to know Jesus for who he really is. For Jesus’ sake, draw many more to him today. Amen.