“Why Don’t You Make A List?” (Matthew 16:13-16)

My wife was relating an amusing story that happened to one of her girlfriends while shopping at her local supermarket. The girlfriend was complaining about the rudeness with which one particular store clerk always treated her. Whenever she entered, he would frown at her. She never understood why and attempted to ignore him. Finally, one day, she had enough and questioned him, “Why are you always so rude to me?”

He immediately shot back and snarled at her, “Why don’t you make a list? You’re always coming back in, sometimes twice a day.” She then realized what was happening.

“You do know that I have an identical twin sister? She also shops here.” His shocked expression said it all.

My wife’s friend had an identical twin sister who lived a few houses away and shopped at the same supermarket. Identical twins and look alikes have been the source of many amusing and comical works of literature, media, and situational comedies. At the heart of the confusion is we sometimes do not consider all possibilities, in this case, it was identical twins living in the same neighborhood. 

What about mistaken identities in our spiritual lives? There are many characterizations of Jesus Christ. Some saw Him only as a miracle worker. Others saw Him as a great teacher. Still others thought He was a Prophet of God. If one only focused upon one of these characterizations, an incomplete understanding of Jesus would result. Like the supermarket clerk, we would assume no other possibilities and may even be offended by what He did, depending upon which Jesus we focused upon. Jesus Christ understood this and posed the following question to His disciples.

…He asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 

“But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” 

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:13-16 (CSB)

Peter’s answer encompassed all of different identities and characterizations of Jesus Christ and elevated it to a new level of understanding. Jesus did perform miracles; He did have an inspired teaching; He was a Prophet. Only one Person could embody all of these seemingly disparate identities-Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God and the Messiah.

If one takes the time to investigate all of the possibilities, the answer is clear. Instead of multiple people, there is only One. Only Jesus Christ is worthy to receive our faith and forgive us of all sins. He proved it by living a completely sinless life, dying on the Cross, and being resurrected by God three days later. 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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