Summary: The "Good Confession" is the foundation of our faith. If we don’t understand what it means, it could have a serious effect on our relationship with Jesus. Do you understand it as you should?
OPEN: The warship had just returned from a tour oversees and the young ensign shown himself to be responsible and efficient. Because of that he was given the opportunity to take command of the ship as it made its out to sea again.
As the ship was to pull away from the dock, the ensign gave a series of crisp commands, and before long he had the decks buzzing with men. The ship left port and began steaming out of the channel. The ensign’s efficiency had been remarkable.
In fact, the deckhands began to proudly acknowledge that he had set a new record for getting a destroyer under way. The ensign glowed with pride and was not all that surprised when another seaman approached him with a message from the captain.
He read the following message:
“My personal congratulations upon completing this exercise according to the book and with amazing speed. In you haste, however, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules of seafaring – make sure the captain is on board before leaving the dock.”
APPLY: Had that ensign meant to leave the captain at the dock?…. No!
He had been so preoccupied with his own agenda, and what had to be done, that he just didn’t give the captain a second thought.
The story told in Matthew 16 tells of a time toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. His last journey to Jerusalem is at hand, and he will soon face the horrors of the cross. Over the past 3 1/2 years, His disciples they have observed Jesus as He
... taught and preached
... healed the lame the sick and the blind
... cast out demons
... and raised the dead
But – in spite of all this – the disciples weren’t quite sure WHO this Jesus was.
They knew He was a great teacher, a healer, a prophet equal to any in the Old Testament… but they had never really talked about who Jesus was before this.
So when Jesus asked His disciples to tell him who OTHER people said He was, I think He was giving them a chance to safely air their own opinions.
So, when they admitted that others had said that Jesus might be
· John the Baptist
· Or Elijah
· Or Jeremiah or one of the prophets
… I believe that even they had thought that at one time or another.
So Jesus gives them this chance… but then, He brings it home by asking: “Who do YOU say that I am?”
I can imagine things getting very quiet. Kind of like in a classroom where no one knows the answer to the question and everyone is afraid the teacher will call on them.
But, as always, Peter abhorred a vacuum. He raises his hand and spouts off the first thing that comes to him mind: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”
THAT WAS THE RIGHT ANSWER.
That was the answer Jesus was looking for.
And Jesus drives that fact home by patting Peter on the back saying: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven”. Matthew 16:17
Six days later, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on a mountain that’s now called that we now refer to as the Mt. of Transfiguration. Because, it was on this mountain that Jesus “was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” Matthew 17:2
They saw other wondrous things that day, but then a cloud settled down on the mountain top and “…a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’” Matthew 17:5
If there was any question of who Jesus was before this, it was now long gone. All doubt had been removed. On the mountain of transfiguration - and earlier when Jesus asked His disciples to tell Him who they thought He was - the main lesson was this:
This is the Son of God…
This is the Captain of your ship
Do not leave Him behind!
I. How could anyone possibly leave Jesus behind?
Well, since the “good confession” (Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God) is essentially a theological statement, the most obvious way to “leave Him behind” would be to be wrong about what we believe about Jesus.
This confession that Peter made in Matthew 16:16 is basically THE statement of our faith. In fact it is so central to our faith, that when we baptize people into Christ, we ask them to repeat that “good” confession.
Repeat it with me now:
I believe (I believe) Jesus is the Christ (Jesus is the Christ) the Son of the living God (the Son of the living God).