Sunday Sermon: ‘Who is Jesus?’

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Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Let me begin by giving you a little bit of the setting of this conversation. It appears that Jesus had traveled up north from Jerusalem in order to find a quiet place He can be alone a while with His disciples. Why you might ask. Perhaps Jesus needed a little time to rest and refresh Himself. We must never forget that although He was fully God, He was also fully man. The Bible teaches us that Jesus became tired, weary, and thirsty. I can’t imagine how exhausted Jesus must have grown at times with people crying out for His attention from sunup to sundown.

Many also believe that Jesus stepped aside from His normal routine for a while in order to have some intimate time with His disciples. Scripture seems to indicate that this was about the beginning of the third and final year of His earthly ministry and things were going to be much different form this point on. From the conversation Jesus had with them it seems that He wanted to make sure that they were on board with His mission. And so Jesus asks them a very important question: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

I. Who Was Jesus in the Eyes of the Men?

What are the people saying? What’s the talk on the streets? I’m sure that Jesus already knew what the people were saying, but He used this question to actually get at what the disciples believed.

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

As you study through the gospels you realize that some of the religious leaders said that Jesus was either demon possessed or that He was a madman. That He performed His miracles by the power of Satan.

But the average person on the street saw Jesus as a hero. “Some say You’re one of the prophets God has brought back from the dead. You’re either Elijah or Your Jeremiah.” No doubt they picked these two prophets because Elijah was known for his miracles and Jeremiah for his message. “Some say You’re John the Baptist that come alive again.” John the Baptist had his head chopped off because he had the audacity to say that Herod was living in sin because he took his brother’s wife. At the request of Herod’s wife, Herodias, Herod had John’s head chopped off. But later, when Herod began to hear about Jesus and the miracles He performed, Herod became fearful that perhaps God had brought John back from the dead to torment him.

I’m not sure what the atmosphere was like at this point. In the movie, Jesus of Nazareth, this scene is portrayed that at this point the disciples were laughing and joking about the wild rumors circulating about Jesus. But then Jesus changed the tone of the setting.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

II. Who Was Jesus in the Eyes of the Disciples?

In the movie, Jesus of Nazareth, the disciples are laughing as they report what the people are saying. But then when Jesus asks them, “Who do you say that I am”, everything changes. The laughter is suddenly gone and the atmosphere becomes very serious and somber. For a moment there is silence. Perhaps the disciples were silent because they didn’t know what to say. Perhaps they were silent because they were afraid to say that they thought in their hearts. It’s as though they know what to say, but they’re afraid to say it. Then Peter, who was always outspoken, said –

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

There are several things I want to point out to you in these two verses:

A. God the Father Had Revealed This to Peter

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Jesus was pleased with Simon said. “Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah” Jesus said. What you have just said did not come from you, or from any man. God revealed this to you.

The word used here for ‘revealed’ indicates that this was something that only God could reveal to Simon, and that once he realized it – it changed his life. It changed Simon’s life so much that Jesus changed his name from Simon, a common name among Jews, to Peter which means – ‘a rock or a stone.’ No doubt Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter as a memorial that Peter had discovered rock solid truth. God had revealed something to Peter that was true, even before God made the world. God revealed something to Peter that was true, not only here on earth, but in heaven. God revealed something to Peter that will be eternally true. The Rock was standing on the Rock of Truth. So what did God reveal to Simon Peter?

1. That There is Only One True God

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God…”

History reveals that men have worshiped hundreds, if not thousands of gods. The Egyptians had a god for everything from someone who could make the crops grow, to someone who could control the weather. The Greeks had a multitude of gods and so did the Romans. Whatever the need was, people created a god to meet that need.

But Peter said, “There is one true God who is the ‘Living God.’ The one true God is alive. He is active. He is powerful. He is real. He means something.”

But that’s not all Peter said. “You are His Son.”

2. Jesus is the Son of the Living God

a. Beware of Those Who Deny That Jesus is God’s Son 

A few Saturdays ago a van full of ladies stopped by the house. One lady was the primary spokesman and she tried to strike up a conversation with me about a large rock that sits at the entrance to our house. That rock was a present to us from some friends in OH and on it is engraved – ‘Jehovah-Jireh’ which means – “the Lord will provide.”

She began making much of the name Jehovah and suddenly it dawned upon me who they were. They were a part of the group known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

She kept referring to the name Jehovah and then I decided that it was time that I let her know who I was and what I believe. I told that I believe that God’s name is Jehovah and that I believe that Jesus is His Son and that Jesus is God.

The look on her face suddenly changed. I knew that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God. They believe that Jesus was once the angel Michael that God transformed into a man and called Him His Son.

She tried to come back with the fact that the Bible says that Jesus was ‘begotten’ of God. I asked her if she knew what that meant. It means that Jesus is God’s one and only Son. It doesn’t mean that God created Jesus. I also told her that the book of Isaiah says that ‘a child was born, but a son was given’ and that born and given are not the same words. Jesus received a human body at Bethlehem, but He as the Son of God came from heaven.

She told me that she didn’t want to argue and that it was time for them to leave. I told them that there was no need for them to leave their material with me for I would only throw it away. Was that too harsh? The Bible says-

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. ESV

Anyone who tries to teach anything other than what the Bible says about Jesus is not of God and should not be greeted as a Christian brother.

b. Believe that Jesus is God’s Son

What does it mean when the Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God? To answer that question we have to take a moment and consider how people would have reacted to this 2,000 years ago.

The Jews considered it blasphemy to claim to be the Son of God. To them, being the Son of God meant that you were equal to God. Is Jesus equal to God? Is Jesus God? The Bible says that He is. Men called Him God. (see John 20:28) God the Father called Him God. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever…” (Hebrews 1:8) Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) Abraham was a man who lived thousands of years before Jesus was born at Bethlehem. Yet Jesus said that before Abraham was born – I am. I Am is the name of God. It if from that name that we get the name Jehovah. The name Jehovah means – I Am the Eternal, Self-existing one.

Therefore, when Peter said, “You are the Son of God”, he knew that he was saying that Jesus the Son is God even as the Father is God. Most likely that’s the reason the other disciples were hesitant to answer Jesus’ question. Deep in their hearts they believed it, but it was so unbelievable for someone to actually say it that they couldn’t get the words to come out of their mouths.

But Peter said it!  How?  Why? Because God had revealed this to him in his inner most being. “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” In other words – “God the Father has opened up your spiritual eyes to see His wonderful truth.”

3. Thou Are the Christ

I think that sometimes we think that ‘Jesus’ is His first name, and ‘Christ’ is His second name. Kind of like – Terry Covey, or Joe Smith.

Jesus is His name. What does the name Jesus mean? It means that God is salvation. It means, Jesus is the Savior of the world.

Christ is not a name. It’s a title. What does it mean? It means that Jesus is God’s anointed one. Jesus and Jesus alone can save us from our sins. There are not many ways to heaven. All roads don’t lead to the same place. Jesus said – ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) According to Jesus, He is not one of many ways. He is the only way. Why can we say that Jesus is the only way to heaven?

a. Jesus alone is the Son of God

b. Jesus alone came from heaven and clothed Himself with human flesh

c. Jesus alone died on the cross for mankind’s sins

That’s what Peter meant when he said – ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus replied – “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Has God ever revealed this truth to you? Have you ever been able to see that Jesus is God’s Son, sent to this world to die for our sins? Jesus said –

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus is the one and only Son of God who was sent to this earth to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus did not come to show us a way. Jesus came to be the way. He is not one of many ways as so many are trying to say. Some are saying that all religions will lead us to the same God. But that’s not what Jesus nor the Bible says.

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 ESV)

And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13 ESV)

III. Who is Jesus in Your Eyes?

A. A World That is Coming to Jesus

While America is being deceived and turning away from Christ, all around the world there are thousands who are turning to Christ. Today, in China alone, 3,000 will come to Christ.[1] And may I remind you that they will do so under the threat of beatings, imprisonment and even death? And it’s not just in China, it’s also in India and North Korea and the Middle East.

It is in some of the countries where people will be persecuted the most that many are turning to Christ. Why? Why would someone leave the religion they have grown up in and put their lives in danger in order to come to Jesus? If you read the reports of many of these individuals, it’s because they have never found peace or satisfaction in their other religions, but they have found peace in Jesus.

B. Will You Come to Jesus?

I have one final question for you today. Who do you say that Jesus is? Who is Jesus? Is He just another religious teacher as many of His day said, or is He the Son of the living God as Peter and the disciples said? If you are searching for the answer, I would love to spend some time with you and help you.

Contact me at: pastorterry@twinoaksbapt.org

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[1] http://www.wnd.com/2007/01/39732/  accessed May 22, 2016

 

 

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