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Summary: If the Lord were standing right here today and were to ask you the question, what would you say? This is the watershed question. What you think of Jesus is also a watershed in our lives. The Bible says which side of this question we land on determines

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Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

The Big Question

Matthew 16:13-20

Introduction: Did you hear the one about the chauffer whose job it had been to drive a famous scientist to a series of presentations about a new discovery. After several days, the two began to become pretty good friends. This despite the fact that the scientist taught bio-chemistry at a major university and the chauffer hadn’t even finished high school. One day after about the twentieth presentation, the chauffer jokingly turned to the scientist and said, "Professor, I believe I’ve heard your speech so many times, I could give it myself.” “The professor smiled and said, "I’ll bet you $50 you can’t." "You’re on," said the chauffeur.

They stopped the car. The two exchanged suits. They arrived at the banquet. The chauffeur dressed in a tuxedo, sat at the head table. The professor, with chauffer’s cap in hand, sat quietly at the rear of the room. When it came time for the program, the emcee introduced the chauffer as the famous professor. He stood up and gave the speech flawlessly. There was a standing ovation when he was finished.

Afterwards the emcee walked to the lectern and said, "You know, we are so fortunate to have such a fine resource with us tonight, and since we have a little extra time, let’s have some questions and answers. The chauffeur stood there dumbfounded. He pondered the first question. He didn’t have a clue about the question much less the answer. He cleared his throat in nervousness. He thought and thought. He considered pretending he was sick. Then he had a better idea. He took a deep breath, stood as tall and straight as he could, stepped to the mic and said, "That’s just about the dumbest question I ever heard. In fact it is so dumb I bet even my chauffeur could answer it."

I have a question for you today. You are the only one who can answer it. You can’t hand it off to your chauffer or anyone else for that matter!

This question is an important one. Not all questions are. Some are trivial. How are you doing? What’s up? Both greetings don’t really expect an answer. Other questions are hard to answer. Every kid can tell you answering the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question is not always easy. I know a few adults who are still trying to figure that one out.

Other questions are more than hard. They are life changing. Everything turns on the answer. Even no answer speaks volumes. For example, the question “Will you marry me?” expects an answer. Yet even hesitating can be answer enough. The answer matters.

If you are working through the One Year Bible, you came across our question on Thursday. I hope you sensed the significance of the question. This passage is the continental divide of Matthew. Anyone who has driven in the Rockies has seen the signs marking the Continental Divide. The Divide is the geographical point separating the watersheds of the West. Theoretically, at least, if you could place a knife blade on the right spot in the mountains, a drop of water falling on the edge would split in two. One half will fall east. Eventually it would flow to the Missouri, Mississippi, and finally in the Gulf of Mexico. The other half would fall west. It might flow into the Snake River and then the Columbia and finally the Pacific.

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