When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:13-16 NIV
At first glance, it looks like a homeless person huddling for warmth beneath a blanket, lying on a park bench along the west end of Sparks Street in Ottawa. A closer inspection reveals nail marks in the feet. This is Homeless Jesus, one of a series of life-size bronze statues from Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. It’s been sitting outside Christ Church Cathedral since spring of 2018, and it continues to get a lot of love from those passing by.
There is a place in northern Israel that in Jesus’ day was considered the most pagan place in the nation. It was the site of both a Greek and Roman Temple and was, among other things, the site of the worship of the god Pan. Some of the activities that took place at the site were anathema to the Jewish people. It is to that place Jesus took His disciples to ask them the most important question He ever asked- who do you say I am? Their answer, and ours, will impact eternity. Here is how Matthew records the story: “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’” For centuries the people of Israel had longed for the Messiah to come. They were desperate for spiritual deliverance. Jesus’ disciples recognized Him as the Messiah and proclaimed Him to be. So must we. Our eternal destiny depends on it.
These have been words from the heart.