by Barry Newton
Peter had accurately piped up, “You are the Messiah” when Jesus had asked his disciples who they thought he was. Jesus’ response shocks us as he prohibited them from divulging the wonderful news. Might Jesus also forbid us from telling others that he is the Savior?
Jesus’ response to Peter seems strange, especially in light of his command to preach the good news everywhere. Yet, perhaps Jesus had good reason to forbid them from revealing who he was. What would they be proclaiming? For as Jesus began to teach that Messiahship entailed rejection, suffering, death and resurrection, Peter rebuked him. Peter had the right answer, but the wrong understanding.
Similarly, today Jesus is commonly known as the Savior. But what message is understood? Someone might respond, “We trust in Jesus to save us and one day we go to heaven.” Might Jesus turn to us and say, “don’t tell anyone who I am,” since such a Savior could be little more than an eternal life insurance policy? Insurance policies provide security against danger. They do not change how people live. As the Savior, however, Jesus was focused on transforming who we are and how we live.
Whatever our understanding of Jesus, it will shape how we live as his followers. Jesus explained his Messiahship because his disciples were supposed to figure out how they were to live as his disciples. In case fog encased their minds, Jesus proceeded to outline discipleship./2 Self must die in order that Christ might pilot his follower’s life.
Jesus is the Savior. As Savior, he releases us from enslavement to darkness in order that we might serve God as he did. As Savior, Jesus rescues us from our ruined lives calling us to holy and righteous living. And yes, this Savior frees us from the consequences of sin making it possible for us to inherit eternal life.
Would Jesus give us the green light to announce that he is the Savior?