Summary: PENTECOST 14(A) - When Jesus asks, "Who do you say I am?" by grace the believer responds: Christ, the Son of the living God and Christ our solid, enduring Rock!
JESUS ASKS, WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
Matthew 16:13-20 - September 5, 2004 - Pentecost 14
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the king-dom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
You and I would agree, that during these times in our nation many have become just a number. In the midst of all the different kinds of people in this world, it is easy to lose our own personal identity. We have become just another nameless person in this world. And so people sometimes have an identity crisis. Our text is going to talk about identity today. Jesus wants to know how he is identified. Who recognizes him and what do they recognize him for. As believ-ers, we know that the Lord has worked faith in our hearts in order to believer in our Savior. Now you and I do not look at Jesus as just a generic Jesus, but as our Savior, and as the Savior for mankind. This saving faith knowledge comes to us by the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in Corinthians: ”Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit:” (1 CORINTHIANS 12:3). You and I did not find out that Jesus was our Savior on our own, not by our own human wisdom. It is by the Holy Spirit that Christ is revealed to us.
And so by the Spirit of God this morning our heavenly Father is going to reveal to us the depth and meaning of Jesus conversation with his disciples. Jesus asks his disciples who do you say I am? And today as our disciples JESUS ASKS US, WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? We al-ready have confessed in the Nicene Creed that first of all I. Jesus is the Son of the living God. And then thankfully we also confess that II. Christ is our solid, enduring rock.
I. JESUS IS THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD
Once again as our text began it tells us that Jesus is not in Jerusalem. He is not in the re-gion around Jerusalem. But Jesus is in another Gentile area, he is in the region of
Caesarea Philippi. Now Caesarea Philippi was known as a Roman stronghold. The main city of the region was beautified after the style of Herod. This was a setting for the display of royal wealth and power. Our text begins in this region: When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea
Philippi, he asked his disciples: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Jesus wanted his disci-ples to tell him what they had heard on the street. He wanted his disciples to listen to what peo-ple were saying. Jesus calls himself the Son of Man. Indeed Jesus was the Son of Man, born of the virgin Mary.
Now the disciples come back with the peoples’ different opinions. The opinions are differ-ent but also they are pretty closely related. The disciples told Jesus, “some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the Prophets.” Interesting answers, Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, these were people of high standing among the Jews. And here also in a Gentile region, even the Gentiles associate Jesus as one of those religious important people. When we look closer at the opinions we discover that John the Baptist and Elijah have close con-nections to the Messiah. The peoples’ opinions have placed Jesus into a pretty high category.
But Jesus wants to know more than that. Jesus wants the disciples to understand what they know and believe. So Jesus said to them: ”what about you?” Who do you say I am?” Jesus is looking for a personal response from the disciples. It makes no difference what the people around him thought. What did the disciples know and believe?