Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A sermon for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost Peter’s Confession

14th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 16

Matthew 16:13-20

"A Bunch of Questions"

13 ¶ Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"

14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."RSV

20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. Matthew 16:13-20 RSV

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

Life is full of questions, Questions abound everywhere. What am I going to do with my life? What will I be? Will the kids turn out all right? What will tomorrow bring?

Not only do these practical question beg for an answer, but also questions concerning my spiritual life. Am I saved? When I die will I go to heaven? Why does God allow such tragedy to exist on the earth?

Then there are the philosophical questions, which comes first the chicken or the egg, how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Or the one I liked in my philosophy class in college was," If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it fall, does it still make a noise?"

We could go on and on. All of these questions have one common element to them which is illustrated by the following story: "A college sophomore tried to prove how smart he was one day by asking his professor the following question, "Is the bird I’m holding dead or alive???" If the professor said the bird was dead, the boy was going to free the bird and let it fly away; if the professor said it was alive, the boy was going to to crush the bird. The professor looked at the boy and said, "My boy, the answer is in your hands."

The common element with all questions is that the answer can and does lie with us. We can search for the answers to most questions. We can find it ourselves or we can surrender the question and the answer to someone else, namely God. But we can do something with all the questions of life and their answers.

I began talking about questions because this morning our gospel lesson and the second lesson pose some questions for us. In the gospel lesson, Jesus asks the disciples two questions: "Who do men say that the Son of Man is??" & " But who do you say that I am?"

These questions beg for answers from us this morning. Let us see if the answers lie in our hands.

In our gospel lesson Jesus asks the disciples what they have heard about about him. Jesus is taking a survey or a Gallup Poll. He hears the answers of the disciples, then He gets close and personal as He asks the disciples,"But who do you say that I am ?" Then Peter, good old Peter, responds for the group of disciples by saying: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." In his answer, Peter was saying a whole lot about Jesus. He was saying that he knew Jesus was more than John the Baptist, more than a prophet like Elijah, he knew Jesus was connected to God Himself. So, Peter calls him Saviour, Lord, son of God. Peter knew Jesus was unique, Peter knew Jesus was more than a man with dirty hair, a wrinkled face, dusty feet and soiled clothes, more because this man, who was at the same time God, had changed him. Peter was coming to trust and believe in Jesus more and more. Peter saw past the man and saw the divinity hidden in Jesus so he could cry out, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

I would like to illustrate this idea with a story.

" An organist was practicing one day in a great church in Europe. A man came up to the organ and asked if he could play. The organist looked at him and thought to himself. I shouldn’t let this man play, just look at him, he is unshaven, his clothes are soiled, he looks like a bum. So he told the man no. But the unkempt stranger asked again and again. Finally the organist let him play thinking he couldn’t play very long, for what does a bum know about organs. The bums fingers danced over the keyboard in a way the organist hadn’t heard in his lifetime. The stranger played on and on. The organist was spellbound.

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