He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Matthew 16:15 KJV
While ministering recently in Toronto, ON, our family decided to do some sightseeing and visited the renowned Royal Ontario Museum. Let me begin by saying it is a top-notch museum and has a little something for everyone. It is also huge and we did not even come close to seeing everything, but the things that we did see caused me to examine some things.
I enjoy a good museum, but the more I have grown over the years in the knowledge of God and the wiles of the enemy, I tend to view the exhibits at museums through this filter. This is especially true for natural history and cultural history museums. In natural history museums we see mankind’s “push” to “push” God out of the minds of humans as the Creator of all things. In cultural history museums, what is basically on display is the deception of satan over entire cultures and nations over the centuries.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not consider it evil or sinful to visit a museum. In fact, it can be quite educational and there are many things in museums that help us understand our past and appreciate it and the people who innovated so much to make our lives better.
But while we were in Toronto we visited many different sections in the museum. The first section we went to was the Chinese and Japanese historical exhibits. It basically consisted of some pottery and hundreds of idols in the form of Buddhas. So we walked through that and I made sure the kids knew these were idols made of hay, wood, and stubble that couldn’t speak, hear, smell, or taste. I figured if I took my kids to see a bunch of idols I needed to educate them continually from the Word as to what they really were. They told me to quiet down cause someone might hear me but oh well.
We went to see different types of wildlife native to the area, and again were educated about idolatry in the native american history section, but then we came to what I felt was a very confusing section…
It was the section on Greco-Roman history including the Byzantine era. Why was it confusing? Greco-Roman history is fraught with mythology and paganism. There were many gods and goddesses, but when Constantine became a Christian the official religion of the Roman Empire became Christianity. However, rather than do away with all the idolatry and turn to Yeshua / Jesus only, they as a culture tried to combine the idolatry and Christianity. You see, the Chinese and Japanese exhibits were easy, it was straight idolatry and the God of Israel was nowhere to be found. But especially in the Byzantine era displays there was a mixture of worshiping Yeshua / Jesus and idolatry. Now that becomes confusing. It seemed like everywhere I looked in this exhibit there were depictions of truth and Yeshua / Jesus that tried to paint a picture and character of who he was. That, mixed with their superstitions and other idolatrous practices such as holding amulets over the womb of women and then reciting psalms to ward off bad and bring good can make your head tilt.
After we left that exhibit I asked God, “How could literally billions of people throughout history have been deceived or bought this image of Yeshua / Jesus?” You see, I have a very simple faith, and this stuff I had just walked away from felt very complicated. And I began to be tempted to think, “How do I know I have it right when so many thought something else?” So I asked God, “How do I process that?”
Now what happened next was not an audible voice, but I was simply reminded of the Scripture in Matthew 16:13-17.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 16:13-17 KJV
But the verse that came roaring into me was, “But who do you say that I am?”. And I realized that ultimately that is all that matters. I don’t answer for all of civilization. I will not be judged on others’ perceptions. Just as this Scripture says, mankind has always believed all sorts of things about God, Yeshua / Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but all that matters is the question that puts the finger right on the heart of each one of us.
Who do you say that Yeshua / Jesus is?
This question is so freeing because He is not interested as to whether or not we followed the mass of who men thought He was or is. Rather, He is interested in what you personally believe about Him and how you follow Him. This question has the ability to release us from the cultural bondage that so many believers fall into. It only becomes about who we say He is, based on what He has said to us and revealed to us individually.
Let’s get our eyes off of others and get our eyes back on the one who is asking this searching question in the midst of so many voices saying they are the right one to listen to.