WHO IS JESUS?
All the way through the book of Matthew these disciples have been with Jesus.
„h They have heard the Lord Jesus teach.
„h They have seen the miracles which Jesus performed. They have observed His behavior.
Now, Jesus comes to the point of asking His disciples, Who am I?
In the answer to the question of who Jesus is, everything tied together. It ties together the past and the present and the future.
If you answer that question properly you put time and eternity together. Heaven and hell are wrapped up in that question.
The answer to that question will determine where you are going to spend eternity ¡V the life after this one.
All the way up to this point in the book, Matthew has been showing us who Jesus is.
Examination time has come and Jesus carries His disciples into a place called Ceserea Philippi.
This place was known for its pagan worship ¡V the worshipping of false gods.
It was there that Jesus asked His followers "Who am I?"
The answer they give is the answer that every person must give if they are going to heaven when they die.
I. IT¡¦S A PERENNIAL QUESTION
It is the question that occurs over and over again in every age.
There is no neutrality about this question -
No avoiding this particular question.
It is the perennial question.
In fact, it seems that everybody has an opinion about Jesus.
I was reading this week about General Napoleon. He said, I know men and Jesus Christ is no mere man.
Everybody has an opinion about the Lord Jesus Christ.
They had an opinion about Jesus in His day.
So, Jesus comes to them and He says to His disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"
This is indeed a very informative answer which they give.
People have many different opinions about Jesus.
A. Some Said That He Was John the Baptist.
There were some who thought he was John the Baptist because of His preaching.
John the Baptist came preaching and Jesus came preaching.
They basically came announcing the same message.
„h John came preaching, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
„h Jesus came preaching, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
John the Baptist was a great preacher, but he was not a preacher like the Lord Jesus Christ.
No one could preach like Jesus.
John 7:46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
Every time Jesus stood to preach He not only spoke the Word of God, He was himself the living Word of God.
What a preacher the Lord Jesus Christ.
There was a remarkable difference between John the Baptist preaching and Jesus.
„h John pointed men to the Lamb of God.
„h Jesus personified the Lamb of God.
- John said the Lamb is coming.
- Jesus said I am the Lamb.
But Some thought he was John the Baptist because of his preaching.
B. Some Said that He Was Elijah.
Some thought He was Elijah because of the great man of prayer that Elijah was.
Have you ever read what the Bible says about the prayer life of Elijah?
Here was a man who had so much power in prayer that he could:
„h Pray and ask God to send rain and God would.
„h Pray and ask God to stop the rain and He would.
„h Pray and ask God to send fire from Heaven and he did.
But, what a man of prayer was the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the disciples came to Jesus and said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray."
That has always been a fascinating statement to me.
„h They had seen Jesus perform miracles.
„h They had heard the teaching and preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yet the thing that struck them so much and gave them so much desire to emulate was the prayer life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That says a lot to us today about the importance of prayer in our life.
So some thought that Jesus Christ as Elijah.
C. Some Said That He was Jeremiah.
Some thought that He was Jeremiah because of His heart.
It was Jeremiah who prayed: Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Jeremiah was a man with a heart.
When people came around the Lord Jesus discovered immediately that this was no mere teacher - No ordinary kind of person.
When they got around the Lord Jesus they saw a man of compassion.
They saw someone who was moved with compassion when He saw people.
There’s not a lot of comparison today.
Not a lot of people really care.
One of the things that concerns me today is the desensitizing that we are experiencing as an American public.
We see so much violence on television and our on our newscast we see murder right before our very eyes.
Dead bodies strewn everywhere and people crying and mourning.
I’m afraid that the American people are seeing so much of that kind of thing that it is desensitizing us and we are building a generation of people who just really don’t care.
But, Jesus cared.
„h When Jesus saw hurting people His heart went out to them.
„h When Jesus saw grieving people his heart was broken with them.
Jesus stood one day before the tomb of Lazarus, knowing that in just a moment He was going to bring Lazarus back from the dead, but He saw the weeping sisters and the Bible says, "Jesus wept."
That’s true because Jesus had a heart - Jesus cared.
All these different ones had their opinions about who Jesus was.
What the men of that day were doing was comparing Jesus to other men.
You can’t do that.
You just can’t compare Jesus Christ to other men.
Jesus Christ is no ordinary man.
You can take every great man and stand right alongside him another great man.
„h You can take a Shakesphere and marvel at his skill and the plays which he wrote. But right alongside Shakesphere you can put a Tennyson and admire the beautiful poems which he composed.
„h Or you can take a Charles Spurgeon, the great magnificent preacher that he was. But you can stand right alongside him a Jonathan Edwards who could preach with such power that men held the pews and shook afraid they were going to slip into the pits of hell.
„h You can take an Alexander the Great who conquered worlds in his own day and wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. But right alongside him you can put a Napoleon who almost had the whole world in his greedy grasp.
But there is no one to stand alongside the Lord Jesus Christ.
„h Jesus Christ is unique.
„h Jesus Christ is supreme.
„h Jesus Christ is the name that is above every name.
There is nobody like the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the One, the Only Jesus, the only one who has ever been, the only one who ever will be.
His is the name above every name.
There are a lot of people who want to compare Jesus to men.
They want to acknowledge His greatness but they do not want to acknowledge Him as the Savior of the world.
This question is not only the perennial question that seeks to be answered in every day, but it is also ¡V
II. IT¡¦S A PERSONAL QUESTION
Jesus said to these disciples, who do people say I am.
They gave the answers.
Then, Jesus in verse 15 says, "But whom say ye that I am?"
Jesus forces you to make a decision about Him.
He comes to you and He knocks at your heart’s door and says, "You, who do you say that I the Son of Man am?"
Jesus said that you cannot be neutral.
He said he that is not with me is against me.
You are driven to one of four conclusions about Jesus Christ.
A. Your Conclusion Is That He Was A Legend.
There was never any such person as Jesus.
That’s just something folks made up and it’s been going now for centuries.
But there never really was a Jesus.
If you take that position that Jesus was a legend and never existed then you are probably in the world today in a company of one.
There is almost nobody on the earth today who would intelligently take the position that Jesus Christ never existed.
Because there is more evidence, more record, more textual proof, more historical data for the existence of the Lord Jesus Christ than any other person in human history.
You would be far, far more intelligent to doubt the intelligence of an Abraham Lincoln or a George Washington that you would the existence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have more evidence that Jesus lived than those two characters.
B. Your Conclusion Is That He Was A Liar.
Everything He claimed about Himself was a lie.
He was just deceiving people.
Investigate carefully the four Gospels in the New Testament.
Listen very carefully to the words that Jesus spoke, examine the things Jesus said to His disciple and the claims that He made and then reasonably ask yourself the question - does this man sound like a liar to me?
The evidence is absolutely overwhelming.
The Bible says we go astray as soon as we are born, speaking lies. Some parents amaze me at your gullibility.
Their children will lie to them and they will believe anything their children will say.
Every human being ever born in this world, the Bible says we come into this world knowing how to tell things that aren’t true.
But Jesus Christ came into this world and He never spoke a lie.
He’s not a liar.
You can’t say Jesus Christ is a liar.
C. Your Conclusion Is That He Was A Lunatic.
You might think that He was everything He claimed to be but He was mentally deranged a little.
Listen to the words Jesus said.
Does He sound like a crazy man to you?
Jesus Christ talked more common sense and wisdom than any person that ever spoke on the face of this earth.
You can’t say Jesus Christ was a crazy man.
If he was not a legend, if he was not a liar, if he was not a lunatic, you have only one other conclusion about Jesus ¡V
D. Your Conclusion Is That He Is Lord of Lords.
Jesus asked Peter, But whom say ye that I am?
Simon Peter said, "You are the Christ."
Peter was saying that Jesus is the anointed One.
You are the One that all the Old Testament scriptures had predicted would come.
„h He is saying you are the saving seed of Genesis.
„h He is saying you are the sacrifice of Exodus.
„h He is saying you are the Lamb of Leviticus.
„h The star of Numbers.
„h The promised prophet of Deuteronomy.
„h You are everything that the Old Testament said the Messiah would be.
Peter puts Jesus on the throne of the universe. "You are the Son of the Living God."
Jesus, you are no mere man - You are the Son of the Living God."
That is the confession that makes all the difference between your eternal destiny.
Who you believe Jesus is and who you are willing to confess Jesus is, makes all the difference in the world.
Who do you believe Jesus is?
What is your personal confession about the Lord Jesus?
III. IT¡¦S A PROVIDENTIAL QUESTION
It is the grace and the goodness and the guidance of God that can bring you to correctly answer that question.
Read verse 17.
When a person personally is willing to confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, that person then puts themselves in a position of blessing.
Ephes. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
You invite eternal blessings from heaven into your life when you are willing to confess Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
Simon Barjona is the human name of Simon Peter. "For flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto you."
Never in a lifetime would man have come up with God’s great plan of salvation.
You could take all of the brilliant wise men who have ever lived. All of the experts, all of the intelligentsia of all times. Congregate them together in a massive convocation. You could put them in a room and in that room you could give them access to every channel of human skill and human knowledge that is available to man. Put all of your computers there. Put all of your instruments that would enhance man’s ability to reach conclusions and decisions. Point out to that group of brilliant men man’s dilemma and man’s problem and tell them to reach a solution.
Not in time nor in eternity would all the wisest men who have ever lived have come up with a plan to save man.
But God revealed His great plan of salvation.
That’s what absolutely defies this world.
This world cannot get hold of it.
Many of this world won’t accept it.
Because it is beyond the ability of man to understand how God came up with such a simple little plan that works the way it works.
God saw man¡¦s plight of sin and He came up with a plan to save man.
About 2,000 years ago outside the little town of Bethlehem out in the shepherd’s field here was just a little humble handmaiden named Mary from Nazareth. Into that cradle was laid just a little helpless baby and God said in that little baby right there are all the hopes of the world placed. That little baby became a little boy. His name was Jesus. That little boy became a man. He walked around the sea of Galilee and went into Jerusalem and into the little villages round about and he saw blind men and gave them sight. He saw deaf men and he let them hear. He saw cripple men and caused them to walk. He saw dead men and he brought them back from the dead. God says I’ll solve the problems of the world and I’ll begin in a cradle. Then, God says I won’t stop at a cradle. I’ll continue at a cross. God says I’ll solve the problems of the world on a cross.
In six hours Jesus Christ suffered on a cross like no man ever suffered. He suffered an infinite burden of guilt in a finite period of time. In that 6 hours all the guilt of the world, all of the shame of the world, all of the misery and agony of the world was laid on the Lord Jesus Christ and the bible says in 2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
That only could have come by divine revelation.
The Father in heaven revealed His plan.
Not only did the Father in heaven reveal His plan in a cradle and a cross, it is only the Father in heaven who can make the truth of the Gospel real in your heart.
The Heavenly Father has revealed that to you and has brought you to this place by His divine providence to give you an opportunity from your heart of hearts to confess Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
God has arranged the circumstances of your life to bring you to this point in your own personal experience and to this point in time and now it’s time for you to make confession.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.