Summary: Jesus identifies Himself using common ordinary everyday words.
Text: Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13b).
Jesus asked his disciples who other people thought he was. He was curious as to what kind of answer or answers he would receive. Then after he asked who other people thought he was Jesus became very specific and asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15).
Has anyone ever asked you the question, “Who are you?” In other words, how would you identify yourself? How could you convince people that you are who you really say you are?
At first, you might give them your name. But then your name could be a very common name like Jim Jones or Susie Brown or John Smith. You might go on and elaborate about your family and where you live. Perhaps you would talk about your place of employment or even mention some of the people who know you.
You tell the person who asked you to identify yourself that you belong to a certain church located just down the street. Maybe your father was pastor of the church or on one of the church boards. Maybe your mother was known in the community for her civic duties so you throw that in for good measure.
If you are stopped by a police officer the first thing he or she asks for is your driver license. This is a pretty good source for identification because it has information about you and it also has your picture. All this is great, but the point being that it does not really tell who you are. Perhaps you do not even know who you are.
Mary knew that she was going to be blessed with a baby because “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’” (Luke 1:28, 31-33).
Jesus entered this world through an earthly mother but a Heavenly Father. It was true that Joseph was a bit taken back when he found out Mary was pregnant, but then an angel appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Joseph was present the night Jesus was born in the stable in Bethlehem. He witnessed the visit of the Magi and the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. After the Magi left, Joseph had another dream instructing him to “…take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” (Matthew 2:13).
Then in another dream, “…the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead” (Matthew 2:19-20).
Joseph was instructed in another dream “…to go the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: ‘He will be called a Nazarene’” (Matthew 2:22-23).
Mary and Joseph had no doubt in their minds that their baby boy was special. They raised him like any other child was raised, but being God incarnate or God in the flesh they noticed he did some things that an ordinary child usually does not do. Children usually did not stay in the temple and converse with the educated and knowledgeable priests.
Scripture says, “And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem…they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. All who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (Luke 2:42, 43, 46, 47).
When questioned by Mary and Joseph, Jesus responded, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). This passage indicates that Jesus is aware that He is the Son of God. It was not His intention to be disrespectful to his parents. Jesus respected His Heavenly Father, but he also respected his earthly parents.