Intro. There are many questions in life. Some are of small importance. Things like, “What do I want to eat for breakfast” or “what will I wear.” But some are extremely important: What are you going to do in life? “Will you marry me?” “What will the baby’s name be?” and even greater, the one that is in our text: Who is Jesus to you? The World had cast much doubt on Christ. From His very time of existence, man has attempted to discredit and disavow his existence. The question is not did He exist, but Who is Jesus? And even greater than that, Who is Jesus to you? To the world in which he lived, he was a common man: Mt 13:55 "Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?" The background of our text is one where Jesus is standing at the hotbed of idol worship, Caesarea Philippi. False gods were everywhere! And Jesus has the question - “But whom say ye that I am?”
I. The Investigating Question - vs. 13-14 (A question of public opinion)
A. The Significance of the Place - Caesaria Philippi - the center of idol worship.
1. The pagan God, Pan, and others were worshipped there. The Greeks believed that their god was born in the grave. Half goat, half man they believed this god to be the guardian of nature.
2. The area was built by Herod Philp to honor Caesar - there was a marble temple that once stood here. The citizens of the area had to enter at least once per year and proclaim, “Caesar is Lord!” In the midst of the place of pagan, man-made gods, Jesus asked: “Whom do men say that I am?”
B. The Searching of their Perceptions - What do others think?
1. Could it be to see the influence of the world on the disciples?
- John the Baptist - Herod thought Jesus was John raised (Mark 6:14)
- Elijah - Miracles, clear and even confrontational preaching
- Jeremiah - Compassion - he was the “man of sorrows”
2. Could it be to see the admission of the World?
They admitted that he had the message of a prophet! One of the prophets -
As if they would would accept Him as anyone but the Messiah!
3. Could it be a confrontation to the thoughts of Others.
- the Pharisees said that Jesus had “a devil, and is mad” John 10:20.
- His friends, probably people with whom he grew up, said “ He is beside himself.” Mark 3:21
- the Scribes said he had “Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils,” Mark 3:22.
- Later, the Sanhedrin would declare that Jesus was a blasphemer - Mt 25
Jesus questioned - What are others telling you about me? He began with an investigation.
II. The Identifying Question - vs. 15
A. It is a Probing Question - Whom say ye?
1. There are those that are Totally Wrong about His identity
- The Jews believed Him to be a great teacher, some still do, but not God
- Moslems call Him a prophet, but deny His crucifixion and deity
- Hindus put him with their many gods