"Who do you say that I am?" Jesus asked his disciples. Many people said he was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Today, people say he is a teacher, a prophet, a good man or the Son of God. But as I take a few minutes out of my day to stop and reflect on this word in Matthew 16:13-23, I really want to pause and meditate on this question.
As Jesus stated, "Who do you say that I am?" I use my imagination and hear him ask, "Todd, who do you say that I am?" We sit on rocks in an olive grove. There is a stream nearby and we hear the bubbling brooks. A deer and her two fawns drink sweetly and take a quick glance in our direction and then continue to drink. I'm silent as I reflect on Jesus' question. "Who do you say I am?" I look in his direction, frozen, yet I feel emotions rising to the surface. All my pain, my questions, my fears. A tear drops from my right eye and I look to Jesus again. I fall down at his feet and begin to weep. I still have no words, I just lay at His feet and weep. Then I feel two strong, Fatherly hands worn by hard labor, one touching my back and the other lay gently upon my head. We both remain silent, but no words are necessary. His gentleness and love are understood. My hurt and deep needs also received without explanation. Eventually, I sit back, wipe my eyes and look to Jesus again. "You are the Son of the Living God, my Savior and my Lord!" He responds with a grin. "Blessed are you, Todd son of Larry! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven."
My relationship and understanding of the Lord is a gift that has been given. How I have taken this gift for granted so often. "Thank you Lord for this blessing. And for holding me today." "Todd," he responds, "Nothing, not even death or the gates of Hades will prevail against this truth. For I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by me."
"Yes, I believe this Lord, but..."
Jesus interrupts, "Todd, I love your wife, your daughters, your entire family and your friends. Yes, even you. I have many things to teach you. Follow me.
"Yes, Lord but my wife's health. If you are willing clear her of cancer and make her clean."
With the look of gentle wisdom he replies, "Todd, my grace is sufficient for each day. And each of you must carry your own cross and follow me. You do believe I love you?"
"Follow me," He says, then begins to walk down the hill.
Imagination and the Word are powerful together. When my flesh is weak and my mind dwells on the past or future and fear or anxiety enters, I need to stop and think of Jesus. My human nature leads me to thoughts of sadness, fear, loss and suffering. Those things may come to pass, but right now in this moment... Jesus is offering the fruit of His Spirit and Himself. He gives gifts that are beyond our understanding. Thank you Lord! By His grace I will follow Him day by day.
"Who do you say that he is?" Is your view based on your own experiences, what others say or the Word of God? I encourage you to set aside time to use your imagination to meet with Jesus today. Imagine yourself in scripture. I'd love to hear how you encounter Jesus. Please comment or email me.
Your brother in Christ,
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