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Jesus and the disciples are about 120 miles from Jerusalem in northern Palestine. We’re closing in on the time when He will go to the Holy City and the cross upon which He will die. But before He does, there’s 2 things He wants His followers to be clear about:
1. Who He is
2. What He’s going to do
These are the 2 things we all must understand—the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The disciples have been with Jesus for about 3 years, and now it’s final exam time. He asks first who the crowd says He is, and then who the disciples say He is. Their answer will determine where they spend eternity...and your answer does the same. Be careful as you take the test...you cannot afford to miss on this question. And you must answer not only with your head, intellectually, but with your heart, spiritually. [With the heart man believeth, Rom. 10]
They are in Caesarea Philippi, the center of pagan religion.
Who is Jesus Christ to You?
1. This is the perennial question.
This question is repeated in every age, over and over again. There is no neutrality with this question...you cannot avoid it, you must answer.
The opinion of the crowd
v. 14 3 theories:
• John the Baptist—because of His preaching of repentance. But Jesus was a far greater preacher than John, and He spoke with an authority that was astonishing. He not only spoke the Word of God, He IS the Word made flesh! John only pointed to the Lamb of God, but Jesus personified the Lamb.
• Elijah—because of His prayers. Elijah prayed and the heavens opened and closed, whether rain or fire. Jesus had a powerful prayer life. The disciples never asked Him to teach them to preach, or to work miracles...but they DID say, teach us to pray! They were blown away by His ability to talk to His Father, and they were happy to learn they could easily do the same.
• Jeremiah—because of His ‘pathos’ = compassion. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet, and was known for His tears. And Jesus was known for being moved to tears...from His view of a multitude in a crowd like sheep w/ no shepherd, to the tomb of just one and the shortest verse in the Bible, our Jesus wept and wept, and still today when we are hurting, He hurts right along with us, His heart breaks for us, and our tears are a language that our God understands!
All of these opinions were wrong, because you just can’t compare Jesus to another man. He is unique, supreme, the Name above all names, the God-man, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
We’ll never find the right answer to the perennial question by taking a public opinion poll. When it comes to Jesus, the big crowd is always wrong, yet many make public opinion their main method of gaining spiritual understanding.
Invite people to church or to be saved and you’ll hear the same excuses over and over again. This tells me 2 things: 1. The excuses all originate from the same source...Satan, and 2. They’ve heard it from somebody else.
“The Bible is full of contradictions” they say, and usually they have never read it for themselves...they are just repeating talking points.
[ask them to show you one]
“I can worship God anywhere” they say, but they don’t.
“You just want my money” they say, and I reply, “but that’s not all!”
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