A letter of recommendation ∙
Mark 8:29 “But who do you say that I am?”
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”
29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
A letter of recommendation is a document that assesses and outlines the character, qualities, and capabilities of the person being recommended. The purpose is to determine if an individual is qualified to perform a particular task or function.
At some point in life, you are almost certainly going to have to write a reference letter for someone. Suppose you had to write a letter of reference for the Lord Jesus Christ, what would you say? In one sense, the four Gospels are letters of recommendation.
Early in each of the four Gospels, the readers are informed who the Lord Jesus Christ is. But the same cannot be said of the inner circle of His apostles. In one sense they are left hanging and have to work it out for themselves. They listen, they observe, and they speculate. Frequently, they are astonished. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:27)
The Lord revealed His true identity through His powerful and irrefutable teaching and His miraculous power that commanded nature, disease, and death.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Each child of the King has made a similar assessment and concluded that He is the Son of God and has believed in Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ performs a sanity check. He wants to know what the word on the street is regarding His identity. And more importantly, He wants to know what His disciples believe about Him.
“Who do people say I am?” He is gathering information regarding the opinions of others. Their assessments range from sympathy and acceptance to rejection and hostility. But the Lord Jesus Christ is leading the apostles down a narrow path of individual awareness. Each of them is required to not merely parrot the opinions of others but express their own conclusions regarding His identity. In the end, they will be left with only two choices: to believe in Him or to not believe in Him.
He is not running for office. He is not concerned about His standing in the polls or public opinion. He wants each of His apostles to clearly state what they believe about Him. He asks, “Who do you say that I am?”
Each of the apostle’s convictions is the product of their time and experience with Him. They repeatedly rub shoulders with him. They have seen Him teach, heal, and interact with the religious authorities.
Peter answers that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Peter is the first to publicly confess his belief regarding His identity.
REFLECT & PRAY
Biblical belief is not a matter of opinion. It is the response of the human heart to the Truth revealed in the Word of God. Biblical belief recognizes the truthfulness of the Scriptures and affirms them.
Father thank You for creating in me a desire to know the Truth. Thank You for guiding me to the Truth in Your Word. Thank You for enabling me to understand and believe in You and Your Son. Thank You for giving me eternal life.
The Gospels were written by eyewitnesses or by people who spoke with them in the first century. The Gospels are both histories and biographies of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. They provide information regarding His teaching and activities during His public ministry on earth. The Gospels are more than mere collections and reports of His teaching and activities. They are narratives with a plot, characters, and a setting. They focus on the historical events of his life, death, and resurrection.
The Gospels are not exhaustive. Their goal was not to give an extensive, full account of His life. Rather, they are selective. They show what He was like as a person and provide a mere subset of what He said and did.
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book,
31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John clearly states his purpose for writing the Gospel of John. He wanted to provide a sufficient amount of convincing information regarding the identity and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of John is a letter of recommendation for him. John provides information in his gospel that anyone could evaluate for themselves and draw their own conclusions. The content included in John’s gospel allows people to learn and believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. And as a result of their faith in Him, they receive eternal life.
If a friend or acquaintance were asked to provide a letter of recommendation regarding you, your character, qualities, and capabilities, what would they say?