The Cardinal Question

“Who do you say I am?”


The big question came just after Jesus healed a blind man in the town of Bethsaida. Jesus and the disciples were hiking into the hill country toward the region of Caesarea Philippi, a place known for its debauchery and pagan worship. Caesarea Philippi was not a place often visited by devout followers of God. It was known as the deepest red of all the red light districts, a place that represented everything that was the opposite of a Godly life. As the group approached, Jesus posed to them a couple of very important questions.

“Who do people say I am, Jesus asked them. They responded, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 

This was the leading question, as Jesus more than likely already knew what the crowds were saying. Then came the cardinal question; “But what about you… Who do you say that I am?”

While they didn’t know it, this was a pivotal question and moment in the lives of his disciples. The answer to this question would determine the outcome of everything else that would happen with these 12 young men for the rest of their lives. The answer would lead them to the 4 corners of the world…all based on the answer to this question.

As with the disciples, so it is with us. The honest answer to this cardinal question digs deep into our core convictions and our personal relationship with Him. Who you truly believe that is, becomes the very substance of our life’s story!

It is very easy to ignore or put off this question. We think about Jesus, without really considering the implications of who he is. We relegate Jesus to a religious icon or part of our family history. Jesus becomes our friend we call upon when in trouble or if we need a free pass to get into heaven. And for those outside the church, Jesus is more often seen as a faith that is out of touch with modern society, someone who is completely irrelevant; stories meant for the old, not the young and well-educated.

Yet as followers of Jesus, we cannot ignore this question. As dads and moms, sisters and brothers, as part of the family of God, it is imperative that we speak up and speak out about who Jesus is, and His place in our lives. We must double down, like Simon, whom Jesus renamed Peter on answering the cardinal question, and for that matter, our cardinal answer. Just as Peter declared, we must declare, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus, You are the Christ, you are the Son of the living God, you are our Savior, the one who has taken the eternal consequences of our sins. You are the light of life to everyone who responds to your love. You are our dear friend and comforter to all who would take your hand. You are the one that gives indescribable peace in the midst of every storm. You are the Way, the Truth, and Life for all who would believe on Your name. 

Jesus is “The Answer” to…everything…period. Who do you say He is?


“O Lord, I will praise you with all my heart and tell everyone about the marvelous things you do.” Psalm 9:1