Describing the import of the question and answer incomplete
|"Who do you say I am?"
This question, asked by Jesus of his disciples, is at the heart of Christianity. Without the belief the Jesus is both human and divine, Christianity fails. This passage, so central to Christian belief, contains a divine statement phrased as a question. It contains the way God first described Hmself to Moses. God is Defined by the phrase "I AM WHO I AM." God is eternal, always present, and above all else. He is unlimited, omniscient, omnipotent, and forever. When asked by Moses what answer to provide the Israelites if they asked who sent Moses to them, this was God's answer.
When Jesus poses the question to his followers, He also provides the answer at the end. I AM.
What, then, does the Phrase I AM include?It is the ultimate, all-inclusive statement of His divinity. To grasp the implications of I AM is the unfinished work of a lifetime. Fortunately, we can turn to the Gospels for aspects of it as revealed by Jesus.
1.)"I will be with you always." Mt. 28:20
So, Jesus is with His disciples. They're on the mount of Olives and Jesus is speaking His final words to them before He ascends to heaven. Just as when He died and His disciples were lost and frightened, Jesus knows this departure will shake them as well. So much has happened in the three years of Jesus' ministry, that this final departure will seem a little unreal. Never can they return to their old lives. How can Peter return to fishing when Jesus called him to catch men instead of fish? How can Matthew return to collecting taxes after seeing Jesus reach out to the despised tax collector Zaccheus and eat with him? John witnessed Jesus' anger and His overturning the tables of money changers in the temple. Luke was a physician, but he can never forget living for three years with someone who rose from the dead. Their lives have been irretrievably altered, with Jesus as their lone certainty and reason for living. Now He is leaving them again and permanently. They need something to hold on to in His absence. In this moment Jesus states unequivocally something they should already know---that He is always with them. He knows what their future holds; pain, grief, weariness, and imprisonment. Eleven of the twelve will be martyred, and Peter will be crucified upside down. But in this moment Jesus offers this guarantee of His presence. This promise comes straight from Jesus' lips, and has echoed through two millennia. We are assured by the Lord of Lords and King of Kings that He is always present---in our grief and shame and pain and loneliness---and He will never abandon us.