Matthew 16:13-17 – AN INSTAGRAM IMAGE OF JESUS

Posted: August 10, 2013 in Matthew, Matthew 16
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Matthew 16:13-17 – AN INSTAGRAM IMAGE OF JESUS

Narcissis  Today

Narcissus
Today – Photo created by Ross Cochrane with Paint.net and Filter Forge from a painting by Caravaggio

“Enough about me. Tell me what you think about me.” Narcissus, a young man in Greek mythology, fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool. Now, instead of a pool, Narcissus looks into the screen of an iPhone and takes Instagram Selfies. He documents his day from the food he eats to the songs he listens to, to the fleeting thoughts he has. He uploads his images and comments about himself to social media sites. Nothing is out of bounds. Nothing too ordinary to share. What if in the middle of posting his ego he received a post from God Himself? Would he notice?

Rampant in our social media Narcissus demands “Follow Me!” In his numerous self-aggrandizing conversations on Twitter he brags about expertise and exaggerates personal achievements. He sends endless Selfies; ingrown images, craving the admiration of others and by-passes the warm and caring interpersonal relationships so that personal acclaim can visit.

When Jesus comes to Caesarea Philippi in the North, a city of idols, and sends out a Tweet to His disciples “What are others saying about me?” (Matthew 16:13 NLT) He is not hungry for others to affirm His sense of self-worth. He doesn’t need to! He is not simply looking for praise though He deserves it. He is not sending a Selfie with a peace sign and duck lips? “IAG (I am God) HOW GOOD AM I? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ME?!!!!” He is not pridefully blaspheming His own image in order to get our feedback? He doesn’t need us to prop Him up! He is not even wanting to attract followers; He sternly warns the disciples NOT to tell anyone about who He really is? (Matthew 16:20 NLT). He knows who He is. The question is – do we?

His question ripples the water of the pool and my Narcissistic gaze is broken long enough to see His reflection instead of mine. How would I answer? What would you say?

“Well, Jesus,” we say, “others are saying that You are obviously a very spiritual person with a depth of belief that is uncomfortably confronting at times. They know You as a powerful speaker who stirs them to think deeply about their relationship with God and others. You have certainly made Your mark with Your miracles. They admire You as an excellent leader. You attract followers willing to die for You. Some think that You’re a bit radical, and that You have a holy air about You. You are morally good, lifting the bar beyond what most of them want even though they secretly aspire to these things. Most people think of You as a prophet figure who is making a big impact on the world with Your philosophy. Obviously intelligent, influential, persuasive, You are movie-star like as You entertain and teach them with Your story telling abilities.”

He turns to you and me and with personal intent written in His gaze He asks us the same question “Who do YOU say that I am?”

I remember when He asked me that question. I can see it now. I am standing in a gathering of believers. The preacher has called for a response. There is an awkward silence inside, yet the songs of life relentlessly continue to play all around me. I must choose my words carefully to reflect what is in my heart because the eyes of God are piercing my soul and yet somehow the words don’t seem to exist that would adequately express what I want to say. What can I say? My throat is suddenly dry and I try to swallow. I find that I am shaking, standing alone yet in a crowd, knowing that somehow my life hangs in the balance based on how I answer…

And then the words flow, God prompted, clear, courageous and eloquent, declaring a depth of trust that is beyond my understanding, and declaring a breadth of faith that rings crystal clear in eternity’s hallways, and invites heaven’s celebration.

I responded that day to Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord. God asked me the most demanding and important question of my life! I didn’t understand the full implications of my response, but it changed my life, forever. 

“Who do people say I am?” Son of a carpenter or creator of the world. Purveyor of wisdom or omniscient? Miracle worker or lifechanger? Storyteller or History maker? This question has echoed through the centuries, testing the hearts and minds of millions. Astounding!

Jesus doesn’t need the religious trapping and positive affirmations, the warm fuzzies we so often crave, to make Him feel better about Himself. That’s not what He’s fishing for. Not at all! He’s fishing for the response of your human spirit as it gasps for it’s first breath of life in an amazing revelation of new birth. The only real answer to His question is the answer Peter blurts out “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16:16 NLT). 

Pastor Ross

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Comments
  1. Yvonne Kilah says:

    Good one – thanks Ross

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  2. Thank you Ross for this one. You hit the ball right out of the park with this very timely piece!

    God bless . . . .

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  3. Bravo! The one person who could actually claim fame did not, to set an example for us! What a blessed reminder. Thank you!

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  4. Straight to the depth of the heart again Pastor Ross. There is just no escaping this question for anyone. At some point in our lives we are each asked, and each have to answer.

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  5. Reblogged this on Revnadinedraytonkeen's Blog and commented:
    A very timely piece . . . . I certainly have seen my share of people who promote themselves daily on Twitter via their tweeted Instagram “Selfie” images, which scream: Check me out! I am all that, a bag of chips, AND some Ranch Dressing! Who can count the number of “Selfies” that have been tweeted? Thank God that Christ Jesus doesn’t need to promote Himself. He doesn’t need to brag about how important and great He is by tweeting numerous “Selfies”!

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  6. lifextwo says:

    This is such a great word! So much of life in this generation is geared toward SELF. The sad thing is that for some people Instagram ‘selfies’ and the like, is the only way they ever gain acknowledgement or affirmation, albeit self-manipulated. Maybe if we Christians did a lot more encouraging, affirming and valuing of those around us, we might see fewer selfies?

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  7. GodGirl says:

    Amen! Beautiful writing.

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  8. […] Matthew 16:13-17 – AN INSTAGRAM IMAGE OF JESUS (pastorross1.wordpress.com) […]

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  9. […] Matthew 16:13-17 – AN INSTAGRAM IMAGE OF JESUS […]

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  10. […] Matthew 16:13-17 – AN INSTAGRAM IMAGE OF JESUS […]

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  11. Reblogged this on Focused and Free and commented:
    The most pertinent question each of us must personally answer… “Who do YOU say I am?”

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  12. […] Matthew 16:13-17 – AN INSTAGRAM IMAGE OF JESUS […]

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