二○一八年五月五日／五月六日 Click here for English version
上星期五，我帶領初中團契 Channel Y 查考這段經文。究竟少年人（當中大多數是「信二代」或在基督教學校就讀）如何回答「耶穌是誰」呢？除了聽到從主日學或聖經課本而來的答案之外，有人說耶穌是神和神的兒子，有人說耶穌是一個我們應當要怕的人；還有一個說耶穌是惟一一個「祂的出生和死亡都帶給我假期的人」；更有幾個說他們雖然自小上教會，但其實不曾想過耶穌是誰。換言之，他們信了、上了教會十多年，但當下才第一次思想耶穌是誰！究竟上述答案哪個對？哪個錯？抑或簡單的對與錯都未算真正回答耶穌和信仰的問題？
我們看看耶穌讚許彼得之後發生了甚麼事。馬太福音十六章 21-23 節：耶穌向門徒表明自己將要被當時的宗教領袖逼迫、殺害，第三日復活。彼得聽見後接受不了，喝斥耶穌，招致耶穌嚴厲的責備，稱他為撒但。原來知道耶穌是誰，答對信仰問題，也不代表我們思念神的心意（太十六 23）。神想要的不是標準答案，而是捨己與跟從（太十六 24）。
Rev Patrick Wong
Consider these two statements: First, “You always reap what you sow.” And second, “Do your sowing and never mind the harvest.” Which of these do you find more inspiring? Think it over… Now, time’s up. Which one did you pick? Why? Or did you need more time? You found the question too difficult and thought it could not be explained in a few words? This question in fact came from the current HKDSE Chinese oral examination. Candidates had 10 minutes to prepare their answer. They also had to listen to other candidates and add their own views during their discussion. It is indeed not easy.
Giving “time-restricted answers” and engaging in “default discussions” are just two of the scenarios in which we have to answer questions in our everyday life. I can think of another question-and-answer scenario in the Bible. This one found Jesus in Caesarea Philippi, asking His disciples about His identity (Matthew 16:13-17). First, Jesus asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” This one was easy. Four answers came - John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah and the more general “one of the prophets.” Then Jesus continued, “Who do you say I am?” It is unknown whether the disciples have expected such a question but this time, they could not just repeat some standard responses picked up from someone else. They must provide their own answer. In the end, only the class monitor, Simon Peter, replied, and did so correctly. He had received his hint from higher up – the Father in heaven, and was commended by the Teacher.
Last Friday, I led a junior secondary fellowship – Channel Y – in studying this passage. How do young people, mostly “second-generation believers” or Christian school students, reply to the question, “Who is Jesus?” I had some Sunday School and Bible textbook responses from the participants. One of them answered, “Jesus is God and the Son of God.” Another said Jesus is someone we should fear. Yet another identified Jesus as the only one whose birth and death bring holidays. A few others admitted that although they have attended church from young, they have never considered this question. In other words, they believe in God and have attended church for more than 10 years, but that Friday was the first time they considered the question of who Jesus is. In the end, which of the above answers is correct and which ones are wrong? Or the questions about Jesus and faith cannot really be answered in a simple right or wrong reply?
Let us see what happened after Jesus had commended Simon Peter. Matthew 16:21-23 tell us that Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must suffer many things at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed and on the third day raised to life. This was unacceptable to Simon Peter, who rebuked Jesus. Jesus gave him a serious censure, calling him Satan. So you see: knowing who Jesus is and getting your answer to the faith question correct does not mean you have the concerns of God in mind (Matthew 16:23). God does not want standard answers. He wants our self-denial. He wants us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).