When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. He said to them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”. Matthew 16:13-17.
Jesus knew who He was; He just gave the opportunity to His disciples to build their knowledge of Him of themselves, not from other people. The disciples had different opinions, as did other people. Some said He was Elijah, others said He was John the Baptist, and yet others said that He was a prophet. When the disciples had finished delivering other people’s opinions of Him, Jesus directly asked who they (disciples) said He was, and Peter had a revelation of who Jesus was.
The fact that people said that Jesus was Elijah, did not make Him think that He was Elijah, John or just another prophet. He was not governed by people’s opinions; He did not look at Himself through the eyes of other people. He did not begin to doubt that He was Christ, just because people did not recognise or identify Him as Christ.
Many people have a problem with their identity. They take other people’s opinions of themselves and they begin to believe that they are what other people say they are. You can learn from this example of Jesus. You don’t have to change the way you see yourself because of people’s opinions. You don’t have to be what people say you are. Remember that people don’t see what is within you, they don’t even see the potential God has placed within you, and they don’t see your dreams and your determination to have them come to pass.
Usually people will see you as less than what you really are (refer to the scripture we quoted above), because they only know what they see. If you have been told that you cannot do something, you are a failure or a loser, or that you are good, but that you won’t be the best in something; and in your heart you believe otherwise, you don’t have to take on the opinions of others. You may even be disappointed when you share your heart’s desires, and people cannot see them, not because they think that those things are impossible, but because they think that for you those things cannot happen.
Do you remember what the people of Nazareth said about Jesus? They said that He was Joseph’s son; they could not expect more from a carpenter’s son (see Matthew 13:55).
I like the fact that Jesus always knew that He was the Christ. His work was fulfilled when He rose from the dead, however, He did not wait for that in order to call Himself the Christ, He always knew that He was the Christ, even before His ministry began. If you wait for things to happen before you realise who you are, it is very possible that you will be discouraged along the way, and you won’t even begin to be the person you really are.
Here are the questions you should consider and answer:
- Who do people say you are?
- Who are you?
- Who does God say you are?
The true answer will be that which comes from God. You then need to see yourself through what He says about you. If you have been influenced by other people’s opinions, it’s time that you change, and be influenced by God’s opinion. While you have God’s opinion, remember that a man’s life consists of milestones – from birth a person unfolds till death. You have not seen the finished product of yourself yet, neither have others seen it. However, God knows the finished product, which is why He is the one who has the right answer for you.
It is time that you put aside what people say you are, and go ahead with what God says about you.
Excerpt from the book ‘Rising above limitations’