Life At Its Best: How do you perceive Christ?
I love a good debate. I like to hear different opinions as well as the logic that supports those opinions. While some topics of debate change over time, some remain. One in particular has continued for several thousand years.
No, it's not Coke versus Pepsi or Rockets versus Spurs (although both have stood their test of time at my house). The stance we take on this debate influences more than what we drink or for whom we cheer. It often determines many of our everyday decisions. It strives to provide an answer to the question "Who is Jesus, really?"
Matthew 16 gives us one of the first times this question was addressed. And this time, it was addressed by the man himself.
As Jesus was eating with His disciples on a boat one day, He started asking them some questions. He asked, "Who do people say I am?" They responded, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He then asked, "What about you? Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You're the Messiah, Son of the living God."
That proved to Jesus that someone had gotten it. Peter truly understood who He was and why He came. So Jesus replied, "You are Simon, but you will be called Peter (meaning "rock"), and on this rock I will build my church."
After Jesus' death, Peter began preaching and leading thousands of people to Christ. He became one of the most influential leaders of his time. Why? Because he understood the nature of Jesus. He saw the way He loved and cared for people on a daily basis. But he also knew that not everyone shared his same perspective. And he had a strong desire to change that.
During this time, people had created different ideas of who Jesus was based on what they'd seen and heard. It was going to take work to help them see the Jesus he knew. But Peter was confident that if he could make Christ's nature known through his life; he could reverse the perspective of his generation.
God's called each of us to do the same. Like Peter, we have the potential to greatly influence the world around us. But to do so we must be conscious of how people perceive Christ and His message. We must take time to understand the views that are influencing our generation.
Then, we must be confident in who we know Jesus is. Take time to think about the difference He's made in your life. Then live convinced that He could do the same for others. No, they won't change overnight, but don't become frustrated or discouraged. Instead, be patient as you continue to allow Christ to make Himself evident through you.
How are you using your influence? I encourage you to learn about the beliefs of those around you. Don't let what you find lead to frustration but to a further passion to share God's truth. Let your love lead others to the incredible life He has for them.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.