It was a Thursday morning. Mark was in Romania, the washing machine has just made a huge clunking sound and stopped spinning, my kids went to school grumpy and I was sat ready to plan the session for Day 4 of Powerkids for Elim Festival.
The day's title was from Matthew 16 when Jesus asks his disciples "Who do you say I am?”
I went into preparation mode plotting Peter’s journey in the gospels. I see that by the time Jesus asks that question Peter has already spent two and a half years following Jesus. Peter’s seen Jesus turn water into wine, feed 5000 people with a miraculous lunch and heal his mother-in-law of a fever with just a word (just to note a few things!). Peter has watched and learnt from Jesus, following his every move. Now here, in Caesarea Philippi, among the Pagan and Roman gods that bustle for attention, Jesus asks them “who you do you say I am”?
In this moment, Simon Peter tries to piece it all together. This Jewish man well versed in the promises passed through the ages of a Messiah who will be God’s chosen King and Saviour. He starts to tie the promise with the reality of his life in the last 2 and half years. In a moment of clarity, a revelation from God the Father, Peter finally joins the dots: "You are the Christ! The Son of the living God". Not just another ‘god’, but THE God!
Preparation mode continued, my mind racing with C.S. Lewis quotes about Jesus, the message starting to take shape. Yet as I putting the right questions together, to draw out the right answers from their target audience, I read Matthew 16 again and all of a sudden my stomach tightened. God was speaking. "You answer the question Sarah: 'who do you say I am?'”
I made myself a cup of tea, as my resident tea maker was 'trying' (so Facebook tells me) to build a children's slide in the Romanian heat! I took my tea and prep into the garden, hoping that the sun might have some heat left in it for me and I considered the question.
How do I answer?
Yes I knew the right answer! But right answers don’t always trickle down from head to heart, from theory to reality. God wanted me to go deeper. Jesus began to unravel my thoughts. “Who do you say I am?"
As my mind raced with deadlines, ‘to-do’ lists and being “short-staffed” in the household, I started to answer the question personally, “Who is Jesus”? Jesus is the prince of peace, my prince of peace. He gives me peace. There in that garden, I lined myself up with that truth, declaring for myself, “Jesus, you are my peace” and the chaos of my thoughts started to subside. The right answer I knew in my head, became something I experienced personally, and the truth touched the ground. It stood up by itself, and I stood up with it.
We all need to ask that question. Every day, we need to tie ourselves to the truth of who Jesus is. Remembering the ways in which He connects with our lives. Letting that truth create moments where we feel safe, feel understood, feel fully accepted in whatever state we are in. Jesus meets us in every place, in every moment, in every heartbeat.
Looking back I know that Jesus has been my friend since I was a small child and that day by day he has stood by my side. I have seen miraculous answers to prayer, provision and peace beyond understanding in situations that against all the odds turned out for my good! Today, as I watch the kids at their swimming lessons while trying to put pen to paper, tomorrow with all the challenges that will come, my daily task is the same – to tie myself to those truths in as many places as possible. Joining myself to them with declarations of faith in Jesus, that trickle down to my emotions, create moments of meaningful encounter with God, and show me the truth is not just theory, it’s reality.
Jesus asks us all “Who do you say I am?”.