Who is Jesus To You? Matthew 16:13-20
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Blaise Pascal
WHO IS JESUS? Is the most important question of the day.
Matthew 16:13-18 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 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. 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.
1. Jesus The Mega-Prophet
(Matthew 16:13-14 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”)
Jesus was compared by people of his day to other prophets.
John The Baptist. John’s role was to prepare the way for the Messiah. (John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!)
Elijah – exalted among all prophets. “Elijah had always been looked on as the summit and the prince of the prophetic line….To this day the Jews expect the return of Elijah before the coming of the Messiah and … leave a chair vacant for Elijah when they celebrate the Passover.” (Barclay)
Jeremiah – the weeping prophet highly regarded among the Jews.
These were all complimentary connections for Jesus. Jesus was a prophet. Jesus came to be more than a prophet.
Today there are many answers to this question from the world religions.
*Buddhists believe that Jesus was a wise and enlightened man who taught similar things to Buddha.
*Hindus believe that Jesus was an incarnation of God similar to Krishna, a wise man.
*Jehovah’s Witnesses believe he was God’s first creation, the archangel Michael, who became a man.
*Mormons believe that he was one of the spirit beings that all humans used to be, the spirit brother of Lucifer who became the devil. They believe that Jesus was begotten in the flesh by God the Father.
*Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet and miracle worker, but he was not crucified nor raised from the dead.
*Famous agnostic and author of Why I Am Not a Christian, Bertand Russel said, “Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if he did we know nothing about him.”
2. Jesus the Heaven-Revealed Messiah
(Matthew 16:15-17 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 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.)
Christ means Messiah – Anointed One, prophesied about through the ages.
This is the first time “Messiah” is used in Matthew … it is a crescendo in the teachings of Jesus.
Revelation (17) - This was revealed to Peter by the Father.
3. Jesus The Ultimate Kingdom Builder
(Matthew 16:18-20 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.)
Peter’s name in Greek (Petros) meant a large piece of rock – a rock like Gibraltar! The ‘rock’ is the confession of Peter. Some believe it is Peter himself, but I believe it is the revealed confession of Peter that Jesus is Messiah that will be the bedrock of the church.
It is popular today to claim not to like the church but to love Jesus. But Jesus loves the church!
“The church is not merely a means to achieve a greater goal, nor is it just a voluntary association of like-minded individuals. it is an article of faith. Jesus promises that he will build his church. He will protect the church he is building so that, while the force of sin and death will do its worst to destroy, the church nevertheless will prevail.” - Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe
The Strength of the Church (various translations…)
HCSB: ‘the forces of Hades will not overpower it’
NLT: the powers of hell will not conquer it
NCV: the power of death will not be able to defeat it
The Voice: The church will reign triumphant even at the gates of hell
KJV: The gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Do you think the disciples would remember this as they are persecuted later? Do we need to be reminded of this?
The Authority of the Church (19). When the Apostles spoke, they spoke the will of God in heaven. Jesus had taught them to pray, “Our Father in heaven … your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Ultimately our greatest authority in the church today are the writings of the apostles collected together as the New Testament.
1. Who is Jesus to You? This is an important question.
2. Who do you think Jesus wants to be to you?
3. Peter confessed his faith in Christ. Have you confessed your faith in Christ?
Romans 10:9-10 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
When we move beyond words … and believe in our Heart in Jesus we will turn over every objection to obeying Him, beginning with repentance and baptism and continuing on to growing in discipleship.