Summary: Every Christian has a "key" of the gospel ... that will unlock the door to the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to use it through the proclamation of the Word of God.
“Don’t Lose Your Key”
INTRODUCTION: We continue in our series on ‘Great Events In The Life And Ministry Of Jesus’.
Jesus is getting closer to the cross – 16:21
Jesus wants the Disciples to see how far they’ve come … SO … He asks – 16:15
o If they are going to establish the CHURCH on the Day of Pentecost …
o If they are going to guide the CHURCH through its infancy …
They must know who Jesus is.
The Disciples will go through a period of persecution & struggle. There will be some doubts. They need a strong faith to see them through.
We are no different from the Disciples. Our faith will be tested every day. Like the ministers in this story:
STORY: A group of ministers were holding a convention at the same hotel that a salesman convention was being held. The caterers had to work at top speed to serve dinners to both groups. As a part of their menu, the salesmen were having “spiked watermelon” for dessert. In their haste, the caterers accidentally served the alcoholic watermelon to the ministers at their dinner. The head chef, upon hearing about the blunder, told the waiter, “Quick, get the watermelon and take it over to the salesmen.” But, it was too late. The ministers had already begun eating the liquor spiked dessert. The excited chef asked, What did they say? How did they like it?” The waiter replied, “I don’t know how they liked it, but they were dividing up the seeds and putting them in their pockets!”
Our faith is tested every day, just like the Disciples. AND … Jesus is asking US the same question:
o “Who do YOU say that I am?”
o “What are you going to do with the keys that I have given you?”
I. THE CITY – 16:13 – Caesarea Philippi
It’s interesting that Jesus chose this particular city for this lesson. 2 reasons:
1.- It Was The City For Heathen Worship – “Who do men say that I am?”
Caesarea Philippi was originally named “Panium”, after the Greek God “Pan”., the god of nature. It was rebuilt by Herod Phillip … and renamed after Caesar and Phillip. There were shrines in the city dedicated to the Greek god Pan. Herod the Great had built a temple there to honor Augustus Caesar. There were 14 temples dedicated to Baal worship.
In the midst of all this idolatry, Jesus asked His Disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”
2.- It Was Built On The Slope Of Mt. Hermon … at the foothills … on solid rock. See 16:18
The Jewish nation had rejected the claim of Jesus as being the Messiah. Being in a heathen city, and without many converts, the Disciples may have begun to wonder THEMSELVES if Jesus really was who He said He was.
o As we look around in the WORLD today, it might be easy to wonder if Jesus is really sovereign … if He’s really in charge … if He really is all-powerful.
o As we look at the condition of the CHURCH today, it might be easy to wonder if the gates of Hell haven’t really prevailed against it – see 16:18.
SO … Jesus asked His Disciples 2 QUESTIONS … WHY?
1.- To Bring The UNBELIEF Of The World Out Into The Open – “Who do MEN say that I am?” – 16:13
2.- To Bring The BELIEF of the Disciples Out Into The Open – “Who do YOU say that I am?_ - 16:15
I can just see the Disciples like boys in a classroom … raising their hands, ready to give an answer! “Oo-oo … I know, I know … ask me!”
NOTICE what the Disciples DIDN’T say about the FIRST QUESTION. Many in the world had said that Jesus was a “glutton … wine-bibber … a friend of sinners & Publicans … in league with the Devil … a blasphemer … an illegitimate child …” Jesus was called all of these.
BUT … they only reported to Jesus the more FAVORABLE opinions. AFTER ALL, it was an HONOR to be associated with John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah. BESIDES, Jesus didn’t ask “WHAT do they think of Me” … BUT … “WHO do they think I am?”
II. THE COMPARISON – 16:14
Why these 3?
o JOHN THE BAPTIST – Herod had John the Baptist beheaded. Because of his guilty conscience, he thought that maybe Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead to avenge his murder.
Both preached repentance … both practiced baptism.
o ELIJAH - Malachi 4:5 – “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:” This is the next-to-last verse in the O.T.