15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
I have been thinking about this passage for the past couple of days. I wasn’t sure why until this morning. Today as I woke up, I thought back to that day about four years ago when I first earnestly turned to God to heal me and bring me through a very difficult time. At the time, I was still a little doubtful about the efficacy of prayer, and I suspect there was a little part of me – okay, a BIG part of me – that said “What have I got to lose?” It would be another four months before I said what Simon Peter said, and when I finally did say it, I knew my life had been truly changed.
As a very rational and somewhat scientific person, I think I had been fighting to maintain a logical stance about the whole idea of Jesus being the Son of God. I mean, being a natural-born skeptic, it was hard enough for me to believe in the “fairy tale” of a living God taking an active role in people’s lives. I’d been a card-carrying agnostic most of my life because I had never seen evidence of God moving in or around my life. That fall four years ago, the evidence began to pile up, and yet part of me still fought it.
Then in the spring, it was like a dam burst. I was at church worshiping and listening to the service just like always. Afterward, I felt compelled to approach the pastor, and leaning on his shoulder I wept and said two words: “I believe.” All the anguish and despair fled, and I suddenly KNEW that Jesus IS the Son of God, that He IS the Christ, that He WILL heal me, and that I AM forgiven.
It wasn’t through any logical progression that I arrived at that day, and it wasn’t simply because of some moving sermon. I said “I believe” because God Himself had shown me who His Son really is. The Holy Spirit had been whittling a hole in my stony heart, and finally the crack shattered and Christ entered in. Like Simon the son of Jonah, I declared that Jesus is the Son of God, AND that He is the Anointed One (“Christos” in Greek, “Messiah” in Hebrew) sent to save the world.
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is not a life-changing statement, merely evidence of a life already changed. It is an acknowledgement of that niggling suspicion that you have been missing something in your life. It is a confirmation of what you have known without consciously knowing. It is an affirmation that you believe the written Word of God. And it is an acceptance of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. BUT it is only the beginning of that newly-changed life. Once we cross that threshold and accept Jesus as Savior, we need to continue to allow Him to reign in our lives as the Son of God, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Gracious heavenly Father, thank You for opening my eyes to Your Son. Thank You for Your tender mercies, which You have never withheld from me. Please, Lord God, reign in my life, direct my will to Yours. Help me to be as faithful a servant as that blessed son, Simon bar-Jonah, Peter the rock. Amen.