“What about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29)
Jesus’ question is kind of like a midterm exam, when a test is given halfway through the course to see how far the students have come. After asking his disciples what they have been hearing from other people about who he is, Jesus gets to the real question: “Who do you say I am?”
Peter blurts out, “You are the Messiah,” and he is gloriously correct. This is the first time anyone — other than evil spirits — have properly and clearly identified Jesus. Peter gets high marks for this statement, but there is more to being a disciple than getting an answer right on a test.
There will also be times when Peter tragically backs down from this shining moment. Sadly, he will later deny Jesus when it becomes dangerous to follow him: “I don’t know this man you’re talking about,” Peter says (Mark 14:71).
Some days we can see clearly who Jesus is, and we are able to confidently confess his name. These are wonderful moments, and we should celebrate them. But on other days we can compromise our testimony, and those times can turn out to be quite painful.
Thankfully Jesus isn’t finished working with Peter, even though he passes this test with flying colors. Jesus isn’t done with any of us yet either. There is still much to learn about Jesus, the Messiah!
Dearest Jesus, thank you for showing me who you are and for helping me to understand. Help me to grow in knowing that you are the Messiah, my Savior! Amen.