“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (NIV 2011)
More than a Man
“Who is Jesus?” and “What was his purpose?” are two key questions a reader of the Bible must be able to answer. Opinions on these questions vary widely. There are some who might say that Jesus did not exist but was merely the subject of historical fiction by some Jewish authors. Others might say he was a wise teacher of morality. Others might say he was one prophet among others like Muhammed or Buddha.
Jesus had asked his disciples who people thought he was. They reported that some thought he was just a man. Others thought he was an important prophet. But the disciples recognized there was something different about Jesus in what he was doing and how he taught. They confessed, “You are the one sent by God. You are the Lord’s anointed.”
They recognized who Jesus was, but it was that second question of what he came to do that was difficult for them to answer, and one we can struggle with too. If we just think that Jesus came to give us a set of morals to live by, to help us lead our best life now, to teach us how to raise our children, balance our bank account, or fix our marriage, then we miss the true purpose for his coming.
It is best to let Jesus describe why he came. Jesus says that he came to be rejected by the religious leaders of his day, that he be killed, and after three days rise again from the dead.
Jesus’ death and resurrection sets him apart from any individual or religious leader who came before him or who comes after him. His death and his return from death show us that he is more than a man. His death and his return from death show us that his death counted for something. Of course, when Jesus’ purpose doesn’t match up with our purpose for him, much like Peter, conflict in our hearts can arise.
Yet again, Jesus gives us an answer, “These are the concerns of God, not merely human concerns.” These are the concerns of God because he was concerned with the salvation of your soul, not just your physical life now. These are the concerns of God because he was concerned with your physical death and eternal life. These are the concerns of God because he sent his Son to die and rise again for you so that you too may rise from death and live with him forever.
Jesus is just who his Father intended him to be—more than a man. He is the Savior of our souls.
Dear Jesus, thank you for showing us you are more than a man. Thank you for having in mind the concerns of God as you carried out your purpose. Keep us focused on you as our Savior from sin. Amen.
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