Jesus asks this question in two different ways; one, he asks about who others say he is, and second, who the disciples say he is. What is Jesus really asking? Was he trying out what they were really thinking? Was he looking for perceptions that they had of him, of who he was, who they knew him to be? What is it? Even in Peter's answer, "You are the Christ," one wonders what Peter's understanding of "the Christ" was.
The question is important for us as well. It matters who we say that Jesus is. Was Jesus a holy man, a prophet, a teacher? Yes, but is that all? As we read and study the Scriptures we come to greater understanding of who Jesus was and is as God in human form. As we encounter the living Christ in our lives we have real experience of who he is. Who do you say that Jesus is when you bear witness to his presence in your life? Who is "the Christ" to you?
You might ask Christ the same question for yourself, "Jesus, who do you say that I am?"
Mark 8:27-30 (NKJV)
Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?"
So they answered, "John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ."
Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.
For Reflection and Prayer:
As you have been listening in the silence, sound and spoken Word, what has come to your attention: a word, a phrase, a feeling, a sensation in your body, something you have been observing that has suddenly changed, a revelation?
Jesus seems to have been quite persistent with His disciples, at times pointing out their fear, their lack of faith, their hard hearts, and their failure to understand. This time and for the very first time out of the group a single disciple speaks up. What is happening in Peter's life? Are the eyes of his heart beginning to open slightly? Is he having a new revelation of who Jesus is?
Think of a time when, after observing something for a long time, it suddenly changes becoming deeper in its meaning and importance to you. How would you answer, "But who do you say that I am?"