Matthew 16:13 (NIV)
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?'"
Was this question for Jesus to find out something He didn't know? I do not think so. Then why did He ask this question? For whose benefit did He ask it? Did He get an answer? In fact, Jesus got a great answer, the disciples came back with a number of answers, all misconceptions that the common people had about Jesus. "Some say, John the Baptist ....or one of the prophets." His disciples had obviously been listening to the people where He had sent them on their missionary journey in the villages in Matthew chapter 10. They knew what people believed about Jesus.
My wife and I did a lot of children's evangelism in our early years of ministry. We had a large group of children from an apartment complex playground gathering for a puppet show.
There was a wide variety of ethnic groups represented in this apartment complex. We asked a simple question of these children, "How many of you know about God?" I asked. Then came an answer that shocked me and helped shape my ministry for the next 30+ years. "Which one?" was the immediate reply from a small east Asian boy just a few feet away. Then he began naming several gods whose names I had never heard. It was a reality check about the unreached people at our doorsteps. Being born in the Bible Belt, I assumed that everyone knew there was but One True God! How wrong I was!
I have a simple question for us all, "Who do the people around us think that Jesus is?" Do we really know what they think of Christ, of Christians, of "God"? BC