Mark 8:29 And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ."
There are questions, and there are questions. In our text, we read: "But who do you say that I am?" and as we shall see, there is more to this question than meets the eye. On the surface, all it calls for is a simple confession of faith: Who is Jesus?
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with silver or gold, but with his holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death, that I may be his own, and live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.
Those are the facts, and the facts are basic, something everyone must know, and be able to confess. So as part of the discipling process, which is ours under the great commission, we go, we teach, we baptize. What do we teach? "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" In other words, neither the content, nor the activity itself are optional, or subject to interpretation. Teaching is a fundamental part of the Christian life, and in the best tradition, once taught the basics, we begin to instruct in the basics, with the understanding that we will continue to learn more and more, always being under instruction until that time God calls us to heaven. It should not even need to be said, but 80% of the communicant members of the LCMS are not involved in any regular Bible Study, I do not know what excuse there might be, but I do know that it is dangerous, and contrary to Godís plan for his people. Either you use what you learn, or it gets lost and forgotten. Those who teach are always reviewing what they have learned, and are hungry to learn more, for in the wisdom of God, we find that the more we study, the more there is that we would like to know. Study is good, and we need to know the facts, but there is more to the Christian life than knowing the facts.
So while in our text, it appears that Peter has the complete answer to the question: "But who do you say that I am?" Saying: "You are the Christ." But it is one thing to know the facts, and quite another to know what they mean, and how they apply to your life. Jesus tried to teach them what it meant, that he was the Christ, and told them of the things that the Christ must do inorder to bring salvation to the world, -- and the same Peter, who knew the facts, Jesus is the Christ, did not know enough about who the Christ was, that he thought to give the Christ his advise.
Who do we say that our Savior is? The question is not answered so much in saying the right words, but it is answered in the way that we live our lives. So our Epistle teaches us not to show partiality, and teaches us that perhaps the best teacher there is are the works that come from faith, that is the best teacher of faith is the people who daily by the grace of God live the faith.
And what of the many challenges we face, our Old Testament lesson teaches us that is is God who gives us the words to say whenever he calls upon us to witness our faith, or to instruct in Christian doctrine. And so again we are encouraged to be daily and richly in the word of God that we might be prepared for everything which God is calling us to do, for God does daily and richly provide all that we need to sustain this body and life.
Who do you say that I am?James 2:18 But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.