In Matt 16:13 Jesus asks His disciples about public opinion – “who do people say I am?”. They expressed the prevailing opinions of the day. “But what about you, who do you say I am?” Peter nails that answer, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The result of the conversation shapes the way the disciples see themselves, their relationship with Jesus, and their relationship with the public.

We can benefit from asking the same and similar questions today. Who do people today say that Jesus is? What do we say He is? Other poignant and similar question are, who do people say that I am? Who or what do people say about my church, Faith Bible Church.  In the case of Jesus, the public was unclear who Jesus was. They had never seen or experienced anyone like Jesus. They could see that He is obviously something special – a prophet and miracle worker. He loved people and they loved Him. He was patient, compassionate and wise. He gave great advice that solved the existential issues that people faced as well as met their physical needs.

When people think of me or when people think about my church, do they think about these characteristics of Jesus? As believers and as members of a local body we do not want people to be confused about who we are. The way we behave and the way we speak will define what the public says about us. What do they think of first? Will they say, “that church aligns with the a particular doctrinal convention” or “favors a particular political perspective” or “has strict rules about music, dress, and lifestyle”?

My prayer is that the public, even those that do not yet know Jesus, would say that our church is welcoming, kind, fun (full of joy), compassionate, patient, and wise. I hope they say that our church gives good practical advice about how to navigate life when it gets messy. I want them to experience that we can meet their physical needs. I hope that they say our church loves them the way they are and is helping them to be more like Jesus. Maybe they don’t even say the name of our church but they only say, I want to be part of that group because they are so much like Jesus. In John 16 Jesus said that it was God the Father that revealed to Peter who Jesus really is. In the same way, God will reveal His Son to people when they experience Jesus character being lived out by us. So – who do people say we are?

by Jim Roberts, Deacon

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