Every morning after waking up, immediately I find myself inundated by many things that require my attention: text messages, e-mails, Facebook notifications, driving to work in heavy traffic, my to-do list, and the disturbing news being broadcast through the radio. While many events demand my attention, I find myself only able to devote my attention to one at a time.
My experience is similar to the millions of people living in a big city. We are constantly bombarded by information that demands a response. We are forced to make decisions about how to deal with a myriad of issues that demand our attention. This is the challenge we face each day: dividing up our finite attention so that we can meet the world with appropriate responses.
Jesus once issued a demand for attention and an appropriate response to his disciples:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Mat. 16:13)
Our Lord Jesus must have realized that his disciples did not necessarily have a clear understanding of his true identity. This was evident by the responses He received:
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?”
The usually impulsive Peter presented a rather celestial perception of Jesus:
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
This is rather astounding because even Lord Jesus affirmed his observation:
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
I find Peter’s reply inspirational even for a seemingly impetuous man like Peter—his otherworldly insight showed that Peter truly grasped Jesus’ messianic lordship. It is my prayer that I similarly begin each day by focusing my attention on who Jesus is and how he impacts my walk on this earth—”He is my Messiah and Son of the living God.”
Written by Phillip Lowe. Artwork by Carol Li