The Who of You and The Why of Die
“Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; . . .” Mark 8:27
There comes a time when one is put on the spot and what one says in that moment makes a world of difference. That’s the way Peter felt when he spoke about “who” Jesus was that day at Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus and the twelve were when Peter gave greater weight to his answer.
Caesarea was a thoroughly pagan area. The city was home of many temples which housed multiple gods. Jesus had lead them into the heart of paganism to ask them these important questions, and teach them the answer had consequences. The road they were on led to Jerusalem and his death. Pointing toward the goal of the cross, He challenges them to know the answer of “who” He was.
We cannot understand the “why” of the suffering of Jesus, without understanding the “who” Jesus was. The personal encounter with Jesus and His identity must come before one is to understand “why” He had to die. Where our confession of Him as the Christ and Him crucified converge, the heart of Christianity emerges. A spiritual breakthrough of the who and the why brings the discovery of revealed truth, Jesus is the Son of God who came to do the Father’s will.
The “why” of why Jesus came to die is not found through the intellect, it’s a matter of love which can only be revealed to the heart. Jesus came to serve and lay down His life as a ransom for the world. In this way, God is both righteous and the righter of humanity, He is both just and the justifier. It was the only way He could express His love without becoming an unrighteous God. Likewise, it was the only way He could express His love, without becoming an unloving God. Behind the scandal of the cross is the scandal of God’s holy love.
In every life, sooner or later, the question must be faced and answered. From that moment belief begins. Life is incomplete without Caesarea Philippi. That very day, He began to teach them of the cross. Their picture of him was enlarged. They saw Jesus in His full radiance, in relation to His cross. The “who” of you and the “why” of His death come before theology; we grow up to it and into it. It’s Jesus who is the Christ on which we stand.
Is your heart strong about who He is? Do you know at the core of you that He is the Christ, and is He your Christ?