by Ley Taberna
“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.” -Matthew 16:13-16 (KJV)
This text speaks about a revelation concerning Jesus Christ’s identity. Here, Jesus asked His disciples, “what do people think about me?”
However, it seems that what is important for Jesus in this passage is not what people say about who He is. It seems that in the passage, Jesus wants to emphasize that what is important is who his disciples think He is.
It doesn’t matter what your friends and classmates think about who Jesus is. Since you represent Jesus in your campus, what’s important is who you think Jesus (whom you represent to your classmates and friends) is.
Now there are a few things that you need to realize regarding this piece ofscripture. These are important if you will effectively represent Jesus in yourcampus.
1. YOUR CAMPUS IS A DARK, SINFUL PLACE.
Get some statistics. You will realize that your campus is a dark, sinful place. Observe the lifestyle of the students around you. What kind of life do they live?
Now notice that this groundbreaking conversation in our text took place at a place called Caesarea, Phillippi. This place lies today in the modern day reserve of the Banias in the Golan Heights region of Israel. The city was believed to have been established by Ptolemaic Greeks, a Hellenistic community where the worship of the god Pan was centered.
Pan, according to the truthy Wikipedia, in Greek mythology, is the god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Panis connected to fertility and the season of spring. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism.
Ceasarea, Philippi is therefore a dark and sinful place. It was, in fact, reviled by theJews of Jesus’ time and considered by them as the most idolatrous place inthe entire Galilee. To this day it remains a place of nature worship and deep paganism.
2. JESUS WANTS TO REVEAL HIMSELF IN YOUR CAMPUS.
Why did Jesus deliberately take his disciples to the most sinful, pagan place to reveal who He was? Why not in holier places like the temple courts, or the tomb of Jeremiah or one of the prophets, where He might feel more at home and welcome? No, Jesus revealed who He really was… in the darkest and perhaps, the most sinful corner of Israel during His time.
Now your campus may be a dark and sinful place but Jesus wants to reveal Himself here. He is not shy about letting His light shine even in the most dark place.
He is the light of the world. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. Your campus will remain dark and sinful if Jesus will not be revealed here.
3. JESUS NEEDS YOU TO MAKE HIM KNOWN IN YOUR CAMPUS
Before Jesus returned to heaven, He, being the light of the world delegated that responsibility to His disciples. He told them, “You are the light of the world.” He even said at another place, “Let your light shine before men that they may know your good deeds and glorify Your Father who is in heaven.” In Isaiah God even said, “Arise, shine for your light has come… and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”
Jesus travelled the distance between heaven and earth to reveal Himself for without a revelation of who He is, there can be no salvation. There can be no transformation. He bridged the gap between a holy God and sinful men to bring salvation for each of us.
Would you also go the distance and share the gospel to your classmates and friends in the campus?
Ceasarea, Philippi remains to be a pagan place to this day. Would you allow your campus to remain dark and sinful?
The choice is yours. Your campus’ destiny is in your hands. Don’t let it remain ina state of sin and darkness. Let the light of Jesus Christ shine. Let your light shine. Go the distance. Will you?
Ley wants to be known as a dreamer and a dream releaser in the lives of others. He is currently the Sectional Youth Director of the Eastern Pangasinan Northern Tarlac Section of NLDC.
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