I wonder if you have ever found yourself in a situation where you didn’t recognise someone. Imagine you find yourself in an awkward situation where bump into someone you went to school with. As they call you out, you look at them as if you have never met them or seen them before. You can’t help but feel a little embarrassed or even ashamed that you don’t remember them yet they remember you. Or maybe you bumped into someone and you thought that they were just a regular person you see in town. It wasn’t until someone pointed out to you that they were a famous actor or actress. Little did you know at the time that you just met a celebrity known by many.
As we start this passage, we observe a similar situation taking place between Jesus and his disciples. In this dialogue, Jesus openly asks his disciples what people think of Him. He then takes this further by asking them directly what they think of Him. You see knowing who someone is, is very important. If we look at the passage before this we recall the story of the blind man and his healing for sight. This is a clear reminder it is very important to see things clearly. Sight is essential.
You see Jesus isn’t having an identity crisis nor has he forgotten who he is and what he’s come to do. This also isn’t an attempt to obtain information. He is getting his disciples to think carefully about who he is. While it is clear that they think highly of him, the reality is their ultimate understanding of who He is is insufficient. Just thinking of Jesus as a man who is good with his words or as some kind of fancy teacher simply isn’t good enough. Instead, Jesus wants them to trust in him and the work that is to be done on the cross.
Going back to the questions Jesus originally asks, the disciples respond and tell Him who they think Jesus is. The truth is Jesus has come to do far more than what they have expected. So when Peter declares who Jesus Christ is in v29 we may feel relieved to know that they have got the answer right!
But as we move through this passage, we see Jesus doing something which may appear to be a little unusual at first. Rather than actively encouraging others to tell people about him and share the good news, he’s saying the exact opposite. Check out v30!
“Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.”
At this point you may be thinking, “What’s all that about?” or “Why would he say that?”. Surely you would expect Jesus to encourage others to tell people of him and not to shy away and keep quiet. It feels like the exact opposite.
The reason for this is that the complete work for Jesus will be finalised at the cross. Until then, they are to remain silent until after the work on the cross.
If you’ve ever read the news or been on social media you’re probably very familiar with the term fake news. This is because people have a tendency of promoting things that may not necessarily be true or they may lack an understanding of the situation and potentially be at risk of misleading people
And in one sense, Jesus is preventing them from spreading information that is not met its completion. Jesus is hinting at them that there is more to come. It is when Jesus reaches the cross that it will all be complete. It is at this point that people will be able to truly make sense of it all.
You see, the reality is that Jesus is offering far more than anyone else can ever do. He is the author of our salvation. No scientist in this world, no matter how intelligent, could ever engineer a solution to the problem of sin. No politician could ever build legislation or pass a law in parliament to fix sin. There is only one person, who can do this, and it is the work of Jesus Christ.