In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus immediately follows the feeding of the five thousand by asking his disciples a question. “Who do you say that I am?” This did a coincidence. To use a sport’s analogy, this is an uncontested layup. “All right guys, I just miraculously fed a multitude in the desert. Who am I?” To his credit, Simon Peter gets the answer right. “You are the Christ of God.”
That Jesus even asked the question fascinates me. His disciples have seen Him fill their nets with fish, heal all variety of dreadful ailments, calm storms with His voice, cast out demons, and display the authority to forgive sins. Now He has miraculously fed a multitude in the desert with meat and bread. Haven’t you figured this out yet? This story is a perfect parallel to the Jews in Exodus. “You’ve seen all this. Here’s one more thing. Now you know that I am God.”
The point, I think, isn’t to look back with condescension on the disciples for being a little slow. This story helps illustrate a truth for us: we have a cheat sheet (the Bible), and we “forget” God’s truths all the time. Daily, even hourly, we reveal our practical atheism when we live as though we believe Jesus is not the Christ of God. We can see the majestic expanse of the universe, from the unthinkable complexity of the simplest cells to the jaw-dropping majesty of distant cosmos, and we still turn away and do, in secret, things that were ashamed of.
To borrow a line from Batman, when the Lord of all creation nudges us and asks, “Who do you say that I am?” it is not what we say, but what we do that reveals our answer.
A version of this post was originally published on TheDyingAway