Who do you say that I am?
These words came unexpectedly from the mouth of my five year old granddaughter some months ago, as my grandchildren were enjoying their weekly visit with me at my home
My grandson was curled up in the large chair and a half with the Scholastic Book of World Records 2010. My granddaughter and I were simply sitting at the kitchen table finishing up a craft. Upon reaching the page describing the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island, the oldest temple in the United States, my grandson asked a question. “Neenie, what is a temple?” Knowing he would relate most quickly with the temples of the Bible, I began to explain. “Its sort of like a church would be to us today. Do you remember that Jesus taught in the temple?” No sooner had he responded in the affirmative came the unexpected words of my granddaughter. “Jesus said, Who do you say that I am?” I actually felt the hairs on my arms stand up as she added, “and Peter said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Precocious, yes this little one is just that...her words Holy Spirit inspired? Perhaps that as well. All I can say is those words have repeated in my mind ever since that day.
To say this short conversation had an impact on my heart would be an understatement. I have always said, never underestimate the impact a child can have on your life, especially when it has to do with your faith.
In meditating on the scriptures quoted by my little one, I found it was upon this divine revelation given to Peter by the Holy Spirit that the church would be built. Not on the accomplishments of Peter or anything he might build as a man, but upon the divine revelation of who Christ was and a profession of faith in the Anointed One, the Christ. Was it an accident that my grandson's question about a temple was answered without premeditation by my five year old granddaughter? I think not. For the Word of God also says, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2)
These same words are quoted in Matthew 21 after Jesus cleansed the temple, casting out all those that sold and bought in the temple, overthrowing the tables of the moneychangers and those buying and selling in His house. After these influences were removed, Jesus was free to heal the lame, the blind and the diseased. In verse 15 we read, “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased.” When the chief priests and scribes questioned him, “Hearest thou what these say?” then Jesus replied, quoting Psalm 8:2 , “Yea; have ye never read , Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?”
Like David, from that day I have marveled at the way God can use the weak, even the infant, to overthrow and confound the mighty. From the small child to the heavenly bodies, the psalmist reminds us that the Christ, the Son of the living God will be provided the perfect praise He is deserving. Even the rocks will cry out in the absence of the praise of man. For many days now, the words that spilled out so freely from my granddaughter's mouth, have echoed in my mind and heart. On Peter's revelation of who Jesus was and his confession by faith that He was the Christ, Jesus planned to build His church. And the gates of hell will not prevail against that body of believers. On this confession not only hinges the building of the church but the building of our faith to believe Him for the miraculous healing and miracles the children praised Him for that day.
I have found myself many times in the past weeks asking myself that question that issued out of the mouth of my precious granddaughter. “Who do I say that Jesus is?” What does my life say about who I believe He is? As long as I live, I will never forget this encounter with my granddaughter as she spoke that heart piercing, hair raising question in my presence. Never underestimate or despise the power of a child to touch your life for Jesus. Even He found a moment to use their praise to teach the skeptic, the doubter and the unbelieving.