Read Matthew 16:13-17 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

6-20.jpgEver feel like you’re up against a situation that you can’t deal with and there’s no one to help? From kindergarten through eighth grade I attended a small Christian school. My dad was a well-known pastor in the area which meant that I was the big man on campus. I had it made – at least until the day I graduated from that school and entered a nearby public high school. There, nobody knew me or my dad, and nobody cared. Suddenly I wasn’t a big shot anymore. What’s worse, I became victim to a guy named Ronnie who decided to prove his emerging manhood on me. Whenever I passed him in the hall, he would shove and taunt me. I was traumatized. Every day at school I was filled with anxiety and fear because of Ronnie. I needed somebody to help me. I pleaded with friends who knew Ronnie to ask him to stop, but they never did. I was all alone in my problem, and I needed a champion.

In Jesus’ day, the Jewish people were up against the oppressive regime of Rome, where they lived with the shame of being an oft-despised minority under the burden of hefty taxes. They desperately needed someone to champion their cause. Could it be that Jesus was the long-awaited deliverer? Peter came up with the right answer when he declared Jesus as “the Christ” – the “Messiah” who would deliver them from the oppression they had endured for so long. Against the backdrop of Caesar-worship and rampant peganism in Caesarea Philippi, the disciples pinned their hopes on Jesus.

What Peter didn’t know was that Jesus would be their champion on a far more significant level than Rome’s oppression. He came to conquer the source of our problems, not the symptoms. He opposed Satan, engaged in battle on an old rugged cross with blood-stained timbers, to bring ultimate defeat to the enemy of our souls.

That’s the kind of champion we really need. Next time you find yourself up against the wall of despair – whether it’s a relationship that has hit the rocks or a career that has taken a nosedive – claim Jesus as your champion. You may be cast down, but you are never forsaken.
-Joe Stowell-

Responding - How would I answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”
Following – Claim Jesus as the champion of your soul.

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