The Most Important Question You Will Ever Answer
Consider for a second all the important questions we face in life—many of them come around only once or twice a lifetime, while others we confront almost on a daily basis.
The choice of going to college or not, given the mountain of debt college brings. The question of which college, and what to study—while not unchangeable, focusing these years on a future vocation is incredibly formative. Or, the question of who to marry. It is hard to think of a decision you make that will have more of a daily impact than that of your spouse. Questions on how to raise your children: what to expose them to and when? What kind of schooling? What form of discipline? All these are momentous concerns that most of us cannot readily avoid.
When thinking of which is the most crucial, the very most important question everyone faces, some, like those listed above, are good options. They are decisions we make that determinatively shape our lives from one day to the next. But, as critical as all these are, I believe they pale in comparison with the single, most important question you will ever face in this world…
Let’s face it, it is hard to avoid important questions. We all must deal with some questions, and our answers will shape the way we live our lives. But this question—the question Jesus asks—is a question for everyone, and there is no avoiding it. It is THE question for every person on this earth: “Who do you say that I am?” Like the other important life-questions, this one will definitively shape every moment of your life. But, unlike these other concerns, this question will also shape your eternity.
Nothing we face each day, no matter how crucial, is as important as this question, or, I should say, your answer to this question. Who do YOU say that Jesus is? Claiming Him as Lord—and not just saying the words, but actually answering the question with your heart and mind—claiming Him as Lord shapes everything. As Savior and Lord, Jesus guides and directs every thought, every action, every attitude of your heart. Answering Him as Peter did—“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)—will mark you as His for all time. Any other response is inadequate, damaging, and false. We all face this question. We all are called upon to answer…
Christian, what is it that you believe? Who do you say Jesus is? He is the Christ! The Son of the Living God!
When preparing for worship this week, please read Matthew 16:13-17.
1. Jesus grew up in and around the district of Caesarea Philippi (vs. 13). Why do you think He chose this background to ask this crucial question of His disciples?
2. Notice that He asks His disciples this question, not the crowd as a whole. What might that imply concerning who He asks this of?
3. Before He asks this question of the disciples, He asks what others think of Him. Why do you think Jesus asks this? Is He concerned for public opinion? Why mention this?
4. Notice the answers that the public offers: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, etc. What do each hold in common? What is the public saying about Jesus when they answer this way?
5. Add stress to different words in the question, “But who do you say that I am?” What if the “BUT” is emphasized? Or, the “YOU,” or “SAY”? How does that change Jesus’ question?
6. What do all the pieces of Peter’s response mean? When he claims Jesus as “Christ,” or “the Son of God,” or, “the living God”?
7. What difference does it make that Peter’s response shows that this was revealed from the Father in Heaven? Why is that important?