18 Jan Self-Esteem Who Do You Think I am!!
Mat 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples,“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
When my Lord Jesus asked this question, it makes me think, was my Lord going through a period of low self-esteem like I often do? Was He having a bad day? Were there times when even He would have needed someone to pat on His back and say “It’s OK, It’s OK”? Please pardon my audacity to even think this way, but stay with me through the course of this conversation in Mathew 16:13-20 and try unfolding this question “Who do you think I am?”
As a student in school and college, I had asked myself that very question many times. What do my classmates think of me? My seniors? My juniors? What are the girls talking about me? What comes to peoples mind when they think of my name? My teachers and parents were the only ones whose opinion I didn’t have to ask, as they always had a mouthful of things to say to me any ways.
Opinions matter, don’t they – to me, to you, to everyone! As infamously made out in TV journalism — The Nation wants to know!!! Interesting that our Lord, the Second Person of the Trinity, should ask one of these “Opinion Poll” questions — Who do you think I AM? Well let us look at the answers:
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“They” here implies that the answer came from different sources present there and the gospel writer has summarized them in one line; some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.
I too got such varied answers about “who I am”, didn’t you? Different people think differently about us. Like our exams question paper, I wish the option to answer was single radio type, but no, the answer would always be multiple type (all of the above). Parents, teachers, acquaintances, juniors, seniors all have multiple answers; most of the answers I fear to hear, but still would want to hear. You see we are wired that way, isn’t it? We want to know – what I think about myself, is it the same others think about me?
Now we see further, our Lord didn’t stop with the “Nation wants to know” answer, He gets interested to know the answer from His close confidants; (His disciples) “Who do you think I AM”?
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Well look here! Don’t we all want to know what our close friends think about us? Because they have watched you closely day in and day out and so the answer becomes even more important to your Self-Esteem.
But then we are talking about our Lord Jesus here, aren’t we? Why is my Lord insisting on getting this answer? Why does the answer of mere mortal fishermen matter? After all does He not know Who He is? Stay with me on this.
You see our Lord does not require anyone to build up his Self-Esteem (i.e. confidence regarding his own worth or abilities). He has got His Self-Esteem PASSPORT attested by someone above and we see the answer in two different places in the Holy Scripture:
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11
And a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him!” John 5:20
So I understand my Lord didn’t ask this question to build His own self-esteem but rather the verses ahead expose our Lord’s marvellous way of building up the self-esteem of Peter.
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Imagine the next time, when Peter is going through a phase of low self-esteem, he would be reminded of what the Lord said to him. This is our Lord’s style – true to His uniqueness is His style – “bilkul hatke”. That’s why I never stop falling in love with the Hero of the Scripture – Jesus Christ. I am sure you are also in love with His nature!!
My dear friends as a student or graduate, we all go through times when we like Peter think that we know it all – all about ourselves, about God, and about everyone around us. We are always in DIY mode (Do It Yourself). We think it is our self-worth and our own abilities that form the crux of our faith. We conclude “We have arrived”.
Peter thought the same. Didn’t he? When he said,
“Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will
“Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Mathew 26:33,35)
But like Peter we too need to be reminded that our Esteem comes from the Lord. When we forget this highlight, we actually are implying “Lord, I don’t care what you think of me, what matters to me is what I think of myself and the world thinks about me. May it not be the case for any of our EU/EGF fellowships, Naah Naah! My friends may it never be.
Peter found his self-worth from the words of his master Jesus in Mat 16:17-19
We can find ours from the same words of Jesus in the scripture. We in UESI place a high value on “All sufficiency of scripture” and from there comes out QT, PBS, etc., Let us continue to actively engage with the Word of God and build our self-esteem.
So the answer to the question: Who do you think I am?
“I am a chosen person, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that I may declare the praises of Him who called me out of darkness into his wonderful light. . . . words of St. Peter in 1Pet 2:9
Binu Thomas is staff worker of UESI Odisha based in Bhubaneshwar