Several years ago, I started reading the Bible differently. Instead of just reading black and red printed words on the page, I read as if I am an observer of the story unfolding. I visualize the details in my mind: the sights, smells and sounds.
The beginning verses of Luke 9 were busy. Jesus gave the twelve disciples power and authority over all demons and to heal diseases, and sent them out into the villages to preach the gospel. When they returned, crowds followed them. Big crowds of curious people. In verse 11, Jesus welcomed the people and told them about the kingdom of God; He healed the sick. As the day was drawing to an end, the disciples asked Jesus to send the people away because there was no lodging nor any place to eat. Instead, Jesus instructed the disciples to feed the crowd.
I wonder if the disciples exchanged looks with each other as if to say, seriously? We are in the middle of nowhere and we’re supposed to feed all these people? Or were their looks one of expectation and “let’s see what Jesus is going to do?” Verses 13-17 tell the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand…with only five loaves of bread and two fish! Not only did everyone eat until they were satisfied, there was food left over!
Verse 18 picks up what happened next:
And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
I picture in my mind Jesus and the disciples sitting around a fire talking about all that had happened. Perhaps there was a lull in the conversation and Jesus threw out the question, “Who do the people say I am?” The disciples had been among the crowd and, no doubt, had heard the people talk. They answered Jesus.
Did they watch Jesus intently, waiting to hear His response to the crowd’s opinion? Was there a long period of silence or did Jesus immediately ask, “But who do you say I am?”
I imagine Jesus’ question brought silence, with some of disciples watching the fire, others exchanging quick looks, waiting for someone to be the first to speak.
And as if I were there, no longer a casual observer, I sensed Jesus was waiting for me to answer.
I quickly thought about my relationship with Jesus throughout the years of my life. And I answered:
Jesus, I say You are:
My Savior. As a seven-year old, I believed and trusted You as my Lord and Savior.
My Creator. As an impressionable teen, I was awed by Your creation, the majestic beauty of Hawaii’s steep, jagged mountains, rushing waterfalls, roaring surf, and stunning sunsets.
My Ever-Present Lord. Even when I struggled as a young adult and didn’t think I was smart enough to understand Your Word, You were with me.
My Loving Lord. You loved me enough to break my heart. You removed me from my marriage, where I thought I was loved, so that I would experience Your true love.
My Forgiving God. I was an idolatrous, unintentional prodigal child, yet You welcomed me home.
My only Hope. No matter how hard life gets, nothing is impossible with You.
In the storms, You are my calm.
In my loneliness, You are my Companion.
In my fearful times, You are my Refuge.
You are the Giver of understanding and all things good.
You are a reachable God.
You are my Provider.
You are my Constant, my Peace and my Defender.
You are my Heavenly Father and love me unconditionally.
You are my Restorer and make beauty from ashes.
You are the Bread of Life and Living Water.
You are the Ring of Fire around me and the Lifter of my head.
You are the Breaker of chains, the Giver of hope and the Lover of my soul.
You are the Messiah.
During this season of Advent, what would be your answer if Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?”