Jesus Gets Personal With His Disciples

It’s the craziest thing when you see someone who looks like someone else from some place else in a place they shouldn’t be found.  

When we moved to Italy across the ocean, across culture and language, the ghost of my USA neighbor seemed to be in the face of Franco. The imprint of my best friend laughed in the delight of Anna, and the strangest of all was my Aunt speaking perfect Italian from the lips of Claudia. 

Our minds pull us to what we are familiar with. We long for comfortable, and we fall into the rut of what we know.  

As I walk around a subdivision behind our new home in Virginia, almost without fail I meet a man on a mission. He walks faster than my legs have ever run. Head slightly bent, arms pumping he circles the circle I circle three times to my huffing and puffing once. 

He has the same mustache as Don from Kansas City, wears the same knit hat and by George if he doesn’t have the same wave and smile as he sails by. 

I’ve come to announce his arrival inside my head as I see him hoofing toward me as “Don.” 

“Oh here comes Don again,” I say to self. 

I’ve never met him yet. 

For quite some time I’ve wondered how my psyche might handle it if I discovered he is a Fred, Sam or Harold. 

“Who do the crowds say that I am?” Jesus asked his disciples in Luke 9:18 (ESV).

Popular opinion or word on the street, according to Jesus’ response ran the gamut from John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.  

“But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked them. 

And here Jesus gets personal. 

Corrie ten Boom quotes her father Casper ten Boom having said, “A mouse might be in a cookie jar…but he is not a cookie.” A Don might be in Virginia, his name might even be Don, but he is not the Don of Kansas City.

Sooner or later Jesus can’t be someone you’ve heard about, or who you make Him out to be, not even Who you think He should be or expect Him to be. He can no longer just be who the people say He is, and He certainly may not be the comfortable image to which you default. 

But He is without question, The great I Am. 

“Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” Matthew 16:16 (ESV). 

The disciples had seen Jesus heal sick, raise dead and still storms. They had even been sent out and done miracles themselves in His name. Yet Jesus continued to press them to commit themselves to His true identity.  

The future would test their image of a triumphant king and Healer. They would be called on to declare Him the Righter of all wrong even when injustice seemed to exult. In fact, Jesus would soon appear to be silenced, discredited and conquered.   

“Who is Jesus” must get personal if it will stand the test of time, the waves of storm, or the tide of popular opinion. 

If a feel-good-message-Jesus, the spectacular-signs-Jesus, or the traditional-religious-figure-Jesus leaves you disappointed, maybe it’s because you expect Him to be someone He is not. He is always so much more.  

God’s Word, His infallible speech, anchors the answer to Jesus’ question. 

 As much as the marathon walker reminds me of Don back home, he is not nor will ever be Don of KC. There is only one Don of the stirpe I know. Truth will begin to deconstruct my Don of memory. Fred, Sam or Harold will begin to give way to the real identity of the man I’ve assumed him to be once I get to know him. 

Jesus of the Bible, the One who does the unexpected in surprising ways, does not disappoint. The more we learn of Him, the better acquainted we are with “the Christ the Son of the Living God.” 

The more we recognize He is exactly Who He claims to be, the better we know He is in fact in every way, Who He should be. With truth as a foundation, we more readily bow to His will knowing it is perfect, and the images we’ve created fade. 

Who do you say that I am? 

It’s the Easter season. What better time to linger on Jesus’ question to the disciples? 

Its gonna get personal. If it hasn’t, it must. 

(Accounts recorded of Jesus’ question to His disciples in Matthew 16:14, Mark 8 and Luke 9. Take a slow walk through them.)

12 Replies

  1. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Ouch! Again, you gave me pause for self-reflection. I loved how you look at Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, for who He really is, but your words prompted me to take a critical look at myself. Am I who I think I am? Am I the man people think I am? Perhaps to some, I am. To me, I’m more flawed than I hope most people see, but I know that God does see. Therein, the pain and sorrow. Another great post dear friend.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Good thought J.D. Am I who I think I am? Thanks for that reminder. Appreciate as always your comment!

  2. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Peter is the disciple that reminds me what it is to be human. We stumble and bungle about, we sometimes charge in without thinking, and we may even deny Jesus at times. But, as you remind us, Peter KNEW who Jesus is–the Son of God. We all have a part in sharing that knowledge with others. Thank you for this thought provoking message, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Katherine. I like Peter too. We seem to have a lot in common. I appreciate your response!

  3. Nancy E Head Reply

    The most important decision we ever make is when we acknowledge Jesus as THE Christ, the messiah, the one who came to save each of us.

  4. Jeannie Waters Reply

    What a post for soul-searching, Sylvia. Reading your words made me think of how I describe Him to others, how I show and define who He is by my life and my words. As we hear Easter messages may we answer those questions. Thank you.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Jeannie. The question searches my soul as well and how dearly I want to portray that He is my Lord. I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond.

  5. Candyce Carden Reply

    He Is Who He Says He Is. That’s a simplistic thought, but He is so much that’s it’s hard for us to grasp, or to put into words. He is my Savior.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      That Who is so big isn’t it? I am so grateful it is greater than I can comprehend! Thanks so much Candyce for reading and responding. I appreciate your words!

  6. Joanna Eccles Reply

    Thanks for reminding us that there is only one Jesus. We are to pursue a true and intimate relationship with Him so we may know Him better.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Joanna. I love the phrase, “that we may know Him better.” What a precious heart-cry. Appreciate the read and comment!