Matthew 16:13-16 – THE KEY VANTAGE POINT
Eight strangers. Eight points of view. One truth. In the movie “Vantage Point” a violent and desperate scenario unfolds from eight different perspectives. Each view from different eyes gives us greater understanding about what is actually happening; the cable news crew, an American tourist with a handheld camcorder, a Secret Service agent ensuring the president’s safety and even our own viewpoints. Each vantage point leads us on a path of deception, or betrayal, or violent struggle as we try to save the president. Unwittingly we find ourselves involved in desperate powerplays as the truth is unfolded.
This is called Disambiguation or the “Rashomon effect”; a method of storytelling using multiple perspectives to explore what is really happening. It provides a setting, characters and plot, but various characters give an account of alternative versions of the same incident. The stories are mutually contradictory and we are caught in a search for the truth, which sometimes, as in Vantage Point, becomes clearer with each revelation.
There are many Vantage Points in the gospel accounts but only one truth. If we looked at Jesus through the lens of a TV Camera and saw the events leading up to the Crucifixion we would want to rewind and replay the scene again and again from different vantage points in order to find the truth. Who is this man? Matthew 16:13-16 would look something like this…
CAESAREA PHILIPPI – AD 28
A BANK OF MONITORS shows various vantage points of Jesus surrounded by His disciples. CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON YOUR IPHONE SCREEN. In your viewfinder, you are scanning a group of men talking. FOCUS ON JESUS. You press Video Feed. His team is listening, waiting.
Jesus has been shown the full story board by His Father of His coming abduction, interrogation, His condemnation before His accusers, His crucifixion and resurrection. His gaze now scans across His disciples. We get a glimpse of some sadness in His eyes. He takes a deep breath and asks “Who do others say that I am?”
Your camera feed pans across to Judas. He is distracted. You turn the video around, trying to see what Judas is looking at. You capture a curtain fluttering in an upper window of a nearby building. Back to the group. You almost miss what Matthew is saying. “Well, some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” There is general agreement.
THEN UNEXPECTEDLY JESUS WALKS TOWARDS YOU. Uncomfortably close. The iPhone is still recording but now somehow it is in Jesus’ hands. The image shudders and is turned upside down but then FOCUSES BACK ON YOU. You feel confronted and a little awkward. (All cameras pan to you and you see yourself on monitor 6) as Jesus focuses in on your heart you begin to hear His question. “Who do you say that I am?” You find yourself asking “Why am I avoiding this question? Are my alliances curtainlike flutterings in the window? Am I here, taking all this in, recording the scene but not really responding? Distracted? Who do I say that Jesus is? Is He a MARTYR FOR HIS FAITH like John the Baptist, A MIRACLE WORKER like Elijah, A MESSENGER from God like Jeremiah or one of the prophets? His question rings in your head; “Who do YOU say that I am?”
CUT TO PETER. PETER gives voice to his perspective of Jesus. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
That would be a fitting end to your video but with that revelation of truth all the action begins rather than finds closure. Jesus once again zooms in on you and although Jesus is no longer visible on the monitors, His voice reverberates with the FADE OUT. And somehow you know that unless you respond to the question Jesus is asking, you will never find the truth, not just of who Jesus is, but also of who you are and the destiny God intends for you.
THE KEY VANTAGE POINT is not your video feed of Jesus but His focus on you. All of us have seen the story board of Jesus life, death and resurrection, but when the full picture is replayed again and again, how will you respond when all the love of God is focused on you and Jesus asks “Who do YOU say that I am?”
- Matthew 16:13-17 – AN INSTAGRAM IMAGE OF JESUS (pastorross1.wordpress.com)