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Who Do You Say That I Am


Matthew 16:13-23

I want you to look at verse 15 again. In this verse Jesus asks His disciples, as well as all of us, the most significant and important question that you could ever be asked because the answer to this question has eternal consequences.

 But now, look at Peter’s answer to this question found in vs. 16. Peter answers and says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

For some time now here in the book of Matthew, Jesus’ identity has been a topic of debate.

We could go on and on but the point is, up to this point in the book of Matthew everyone seems to be trying to figure out, “Who Jesus is.”

So now, look at verse 13. In verse 13 Jesus goes with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi.

Now the disciples would have made good politicians. Notice what they say: “Some say you are John the Baptist; others say you are Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.”

They say only the good things: “We hear people say that you might be John the Baptist, or you might be Elijah. They even say that you might be one of the prophets.”

But the problem with a little bit of truth is it contains a whole lot of lie.

And that is the same thing that is so prevalent today.

And that is what most religions outside of Christianity do with Christ.

And so look at what Jesus does next. In verse 15 He asks His disciples, “What do you say? Who do you say that I am?”

And look at what Peter says. Peter says, “You are not just another man.”

 Peter had seen and heard all that Jesus had done and said and he concluded that Jesus was more than just another man.

Now, that is the right answer isn’t it?

You see, here is what we do…we take Peter’s confession here and we put the knowledge that we have of the rest of the New Testament…and the knowledge that we have concerning Christ and His death on the cross…and the knowledge that we have of Christ coming back some day to save the redeemed…and we take it for granted the Peter understood what we understand about Jesus.

But let me ask you this. As a Jewish boy growing up what was Peter and the other disciples taught about the Messiah? In fact, what did most of the Jews think that the Messiah was going to do?

In fact, in Acts 1:6, after Jesus had been crucified and raised from the dead, just prior to His ascension He met with the disciples and guess what they asked? “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

 So, when Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” did he have the right answer?

So Jesus can’t let Peter or the other disciples go out spreading a wrong concept about who He is…so in verse 20 Jesus tells the disciples not to tell anyone that He is the Christ.

And in verse 21, Jesus begins to teach the disciples more about what He must do as the Messiah. Look at what it says:   From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.

And the disciples, specifically Peter, who was planning on being a part of this new regime didn’t like it when Jesus tells them that He must die.

And Jesus turns around and He rebukes Peter and says, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

And when Jesus tells Peter “to get behind Him”, He is telling Peter to return to where a true disciple belongs.

When it comes to the question of “Who Jesus is”, Satan is actively involved in trying to distort your view.

If he can cause you to settle on a wrong view of Jesus…

Let me ask you this: How many times does the Bible talk about and warn against the sin of idolatry?

The appeal of idolatry is that you get to shape God into the image that most pleases you.

Now that is something that we think that pagans do.

Watch some of the preachers on TV sometime.

Now we laugh at that and we watch those guys on TV fashion Jesus that way.

When we fashion Jesus to fit what we want we are doing exactly what Satan wants us to do

When Jesus calls Peter “Satan”, He was exactly right for Peter was doing exactly what Satan wanted him to do.

In this passage Peter calls Jesus the “Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

When you make choices this coming week, when you start your day and you face the things that are going to come before you, what view of Jesus is going to shape your decision? Is it going to be the one of the Messiah with a cross, or is it going to be one of your own making that lets you avoid the hard choices?

Who is Jesus? I don’t care if you are not a Christian or if you have been a Christian for 50 years, I want you this morning to answer the question, “Who is Jesus of Nazareth?” It is the most intensely debated question in history. It is the most important question you will ever answer. And, I warn you that your answer can cost you your soul, or it can also save.