"But you," He asked them, "who do you say that I am?"Matthew 16:15(HCSB)
Speculation about the identity and origin of Jesus Christ was as widespread among the people of the first century as it is within today's modern generation. Imaginations overflowed with ideas and postulations of where He was from, who He could be, why He had come, and what they should do about Him. There were some equally preposterous suggestions in those days as to who they thought that Jesus of Nazareth the Son of Man was, as there are in this day and age.
They had seen His signs, had witnessed His healings, and were aware of His miraculous birth. They had heard His authoritative teachings and were anticipating a coming Messiah as prophesied by in the Hebrew Scriptures. They had heard the astonishing claims of this 'Teacher' who swept aside the deeply entrenched traditional teachings of the elders by declaring, "You have heard it said of old, but I say unto you..." They were fully aware of His Messianic claims, as He proclaimed, "I am the Good Shepherd," "I am the door of the sheepfold," "I am the Bread of Life that came down from heaven," and "I am the Living Water," that will refresh your weary souls. They had heard Jesus' invitation: "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden," and I will give you the Sabbath rest that God promised you so long ago.
Oh yes, the people of the first century were equally aware of the claims of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as are today's modern generation. They were equally aware of His claims to be God incarnate - the Word made flesh - the Son of the Father - the second Person of the eternal Trinity, but like the people of today, they preferred to speculate on the false assumptions that flooded their depraved imaginations.
"But you," Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do you say that I AM?" And the eternal destiny of His disciples, along with the eternal destiny of every individual who ever walked this earth, rests on the response to that question.
So… who do YOU say that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Man, is…?
Gracious Lord and Heavenly King, how can I ever thank You enough for setting aside the glory that You had with the Father from before the creation of the world. You chose to come to earth and become our sin-substitute so that whoever believes on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved and have eternal life. I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who died for my sin and rose again so that I may live. Praise Your holy name, AMEN.