Summary: Now with the media tracking you and keeping you accountable, the way you live out your life daily will send a message to others who you really are and what is your calling. This should not stop you to live out God’s call.
Opening Illustration: Jesus has become popular again. His name pops up in the news all the time. In 2004 Mel Gibson did what Billy Graham could not do. Through his movie The Passion of the Christ, he took the cross of Jesus and planted it squarely in the middle of American public life. For a few fleeting weeks, everyone was talking about Jesus. I remember turning on TV the morning the movie opened across America. On CBS they were talking about Jesus. On the Today show, Katie Couric was talking about Jesus. On Good Morning America Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson were talking about Jesus. It was the same on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. That afternoon I turned on CNBC, a financial channel, and they weren’t talking about the latest news from Wall Street. They were talking about Jesus. That night on Hardball, Chris Matthews was talking about Jesus. Although he lived 2,000 years ago, for a brief moment, Jesus took center stage not only in American public life but globally and no one could ignore him.
Introduction: From time to time it’s good for us to stop and ask that question—what is it that we are trying to do here?” It’s good for all churches to ask that question occasionally. I think it’s especially important to ask that question just before school starts because September traditionally marks the beginning of our Fall programs.
In your calling it will not be important what outsiders testify about you but what your team has witnessed about you so that they can unhibitedly testify about you and your ministry to others. Sometimes people will taint a distorted picture about you just as many did for Jesus but that did not stop Him to move forward. However there were a bunch of 12 disciples who stood by Him and Jesus just kept moving closer toward the goal till He attained it. Whose affirmation, endorsement or testimony are you waiting for to step into the call that God has upon your life?
Queries about your calling:
1. What do the people generally comment? (vs. 13-14)
This was the first Gallup Poll. Jesus already knew the answer. He wanted his disciples to acknowledge what other people were saying. So they gave him the four most popular answers about who Jesus is. “Some say John the Baptist (that was Herod’s answer); others say Elijah (that was very popular because the Jews expected Elijah to return); and still others, Jeremiah (he was the greatest of the later prophets) or one of the prophets (that is, he was a spokesman for God).”
I’m sure that when we read a passage like this we tend to downplay those answers because we already know the right answer to the question. And we think, “Those fools, they didn’t know the answers.” But those answers were meant to be flattering. It would be as if someone came in and said, “Who do you think I am?”, and people said, “Well, I think you’re George Washington” or “I think you’re Abraham Lincoln.” If they really meant it, which would be a great compliment even if they were wrong.
Even if they were wrong, you have to give them credit. At least they were wrong on the right side of the issue. At least they knew that Jesus wasn’t a bad man. One commentator said that when the common people gave these answers they were like “a moth hovering around the light.” They were fascinated by what they could not understand.
There are two worthwhile points to note: First, the common people loved Jesus even though they did not fully understand him. Second, it is quite possible even with a very sincere heart to misunderstand who Jesus is. It is possible for a person to be very sympathetic to spiritual truth and still not understand who our Lord is. That is, it is possible to misunderstand with the best of intentions.
This is quite typical of America today. There are many people who like the Lord Jesus but do not worship him. They think he’s a good man, even a great man, even a man who had a special relationship to God. But they do not believe he is the Son of God from heaven.
Still others agreed that Jesus was someone special, but they did not know who, perhaps just one of the prophets of old risen back to life. Now notice that they could not deny that what Jesus did was supernatural, therefore He must be someone special, but they could not accept the fact that He was the Messiah. The signs and wonders that Jesus did proved that He was the Messiah because they were in keeping with the prophecies about Him, but the miracles did not convince the people.
People are still the same way. Philosophers revere Jesus as a great thinker. Ethicists call Him the great moral example. Liberal religionists say He provided the model of how we should live. Atheists have proclaimed Jesus as the “greatest among the sons of men.” Rock stars have sung that Jesus Christ is the “superstar,” but in every case the acclaim and pronouncements of these people is far below who Jesus really is.