27And Jesus and his disciples went out into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Now on the road he asked his disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” 28And they said, “Some say ‘John the Baptist’ and others ‘Elias,’ and others ‘One of the prophets.'” 29And he asked them, “But you, who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “You are the Messiah!” — Mark 8:27-29
(For the full context, read Mark 8:22-33)
There is a Jesus that only you can share. Nobody else knows him like you do. If you don’t share him, someone will miss a blessing that only you can bring.
Now let me fend off any theologians reading the list who want to remind me of Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I’m not saying that Jesus changes. Jesus is who he is, but we each see Jesus through our own relationship. Notice how Jesus first asked how others saw him. The disciples could report on what others had seen. But then he asked the disciples, the ones who were traveling and living with him all day, every day: â€œWho do you say that I am?â€
We all live in relationship to others. If my wife describes me, you will get one impression. If I describe myself, you’ll get something different. If my children describe me, you will get something different still. Friends, colleagues, acquaintancesâ€”all have some view of who I am. Part of who you are is made up of those relationships as well.
Each of us lives in relation to God. Each of us has a personal relationship with Jesus. Some theologians these days are trying to play down the personal relationship with Jesus and emphasize the fixed, general relationship of humanity with the savior of the worldâ€”unchanging and common to all. But Jesus ordained evangelism by individuals. That’s you and me, sharing what we know of Jesus through our testimony, our own picture of Jesus.
Sometimes we’re afraid of being too personal. We’re not important enough to be talking about our own relationship. Perhaps we should tell people about how our pastor relates to Jesus. Perhaps we should use a tract and just follow the directions.
Psychologists will tell you that just knowing the facts about a relationship will not necessary provide you with a solution. A husband and wife can know precisely what’s wrongâ€”in their heads. But somewhere, somehow there has to be a breakthrough where the relationship starts to heal. Just saying that I know what it is that my wife does that annoys me doesn’t mean that I can make it stop annoying me. But my relationship can make that work.
You are unique, and your relationship to God is unique and precious. Don’t stop when you’ve answered the question, â€œWho do other people say I am?â€ You may find some good answers there, or you may not. There are many answers to that question. Let Jesus get right in the way of your agenda and ask you, â€œWho do YOU say that I am?â€
When you have the answer to that, you’re going to find that, like the disciples, there’s something special about your relationship that is going to connect with someone you know. You have a testimony that someone needs to hear, and nobody else’s testimony will replace it.
Who do you say Jesus is today?