Within the last years there has been a decreased emphasis in the desire to urge people to ‘make a decision for Christ’. This is, I would argue, a needed correction to the attitude that the ‘decision’ is all that is necessary. For too long our evangelism focused on getting people to make a decision, and we avoided our responsibility to make disciples.

Many people point to the fact that Jesus’s disciples were forced to make a decision to follow Jesus when he called them. He called, “Follow me,” and the disciples had to choose. Do I leave all I have and follow Jesus, or do I stay here.

This, however, is not the place that I think the disciples make their commitment to the way of Jesus. This leaving everything behind and following shows a desire to find acceptance and love (to follow a Rabbi is a great honour, one which these people had been passed over for). It shows a yearning for a closer connection with God, something they saw in Jesus.

Their commitment, however, came later. All of the gospels have some point where this is made, but Luke records this moment in chapter 9. He has just sent out the twelve to go and preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick with no supplies; relying on the hospitality of others (in essence showing the disciples what this life of following him would be like). Then when the disciples get back they try to go and find a place to be by themselves. The crowds, however, refuse to leave them alone and follow them. Jesus, instead of turning them away, welcomes them, teaches them, heals them, and miraculously feeds them.

Then he challenges the disciples.

“Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:18-22, ESV)

“Who do you say that I am?” asks Jesus. This is the deciding moment for the disciples. They have seen miracles. They have seen what it means to be his disciple. They know full well what they are getting themselves into.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 9:23-27, ESV)

Following Jesus seems to be something that the disciples grow into, never really achieving until the Holy Spirit is poured out on them. But at this point, Jesus directly asks the question, “Who do you say that I am?”

What do we do with Jesus?

This is the ultimate question for a Christian.

This is the decision we need to make.

Is he your Saviour and Lord?

“Who do you say that I am?”

This is the question that is addressed to us at some point in our journey of faith. This is the question we all need to answer at some point.

This is the decision we need to make.

Who do you say that he is?