Theme Commentary

Justine Jenner, Pastoral Worker and Event Organiser
Jesus has a way of asking confronting, engaging, personal questions. In Matthew 16 Jesus has asked his disciples “Who do people say I am?”. I wonder if we walked the streets of the Blue Mountains asking people who they think Jesus is what kind of answers would we hear?
But Jesus is more confronting than that – he then asks his friends, “But what about you?… Who do you say I am?”. This is not an objective question about what others think, he is asking a personal question – What is in your heart and mind? Who do you say I am? Jesus knows who he is, that is not his question. He is asking – what about you – “Who do you say I am?”
Steve Young, Senior Minister
Jesus’ question to his disciples in Matthew 16:15 prompts a turning point in Matthew’s story. The ministry of Jesus was making a huge impact. His teaching was radical and searching, as seen in the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7).
His miracles demonstrated incredible authority combined with deep compassion for people’s needs (chapters 8–9). His mission to call people back to God was spreading in a way that threatened the established powers (chapters 10–16). The burning question had become: Who is this? The Jews were waiting for God to restore the fortunes of his people by sending the promised Messiah (the Christ). Some had falsely claimed to be the one. Jesus was careful not to make a direct claim, in some cases even keeping miracles secret, but allowed the evidence to speak for itself.
In Matthew 16:13, Jesus privately asks his disciples who the people were saying he was. There were many theories. Then in Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks his disciples, those who knew him best, who they believed him to be. Peter answered for them all without hesitation, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” According to Jesus, it was the conclusion to which God had led them. From this point onwards the question becomes: Where is Jesus Messiah going with his authority? Straight away, Jesus indicates his destination: suffering, rejection, death and then resurrection. Matthew goes on to tell the story of how Jesus would lay down his life for the sins of his people and then be resurrected to rule. Matthew’s intention was that everyone who read his story would be confronted with Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” There are still many theories but there is no more important question because, when a person puts their faith in Jesus, by his authority he grants them forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Entries now open!
Everyone has an opinion on who Jesus is, whether positive or negative. The Factory Art Prize is a curated open art prize that invites local artists to think laterally and with sensitivity and engage with the question Jesus asks of his disciples: “Who Do You Say I Am?” by interpreting this in two or three dimensional works.
1st Prize: $1,000 (non-acquisitive)
People’s Choice Prize: $500 (non-acquisitive)
High School Student (years 9–12): $500 (non-acquisitive)
Key dates
Entries close: Monday 13 March 2023 at 11.59pm.
Successful artists notified: Friday 18 March 2023.
Deadline for artwork drop off to The Factory: Monday 27 March 2023.
Opening Night — First Prize and Youth Prize winners announced: Friday 31 March 2023.
People’s Choice Prize Winner announced: Tuesday 11 April 2023.
Artwork collection: Tuesday 11 April 2023.
To be announced.