Summary: This sermon centers around the declaration of Peter that Jesus was the Christ.
WHAT’S MY LINE
TEXT: MATTHEW 16.13-18
I recall watching reruns of an old games show that was a hit during the 50’s and 60’s. The show was called “What’s my line?” In this game the panel would try to guess the occupation of a contestant by asking yes and no questions. This show is fun to watch even today. It seems that Jesus is doing somewhat the same thing here. He knows He is the Messiah, but is sitting before this panel (the 12 disciples) and are asking them questions to see if they have truly understood who He was.
In our first study we saw Peter called as a follower of Jesus Christ. Now we see as Christ is laying out the mission that He has for them to complete. The mission they were going to encounter was to build His church. Peter and the other disciples have followed him for some time. Now on this particular day Jesus and his disciples go into the area called Caesarea Philippi. This city is located in the northern part of the Israel, just south of Mt. Hermon.
1. WHAT IS THE WORD ON THE STREET?
While Jesus is here in this city, he begins to talk with his disciples. On this particular day as he looks at his disciples, he begins to question them as to who people say that he is. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13; also in Mark 8.27 and Luke 9.18). What is the word on the street? You have been out there and been mingling with the people. What are they saying about me? What names are you associating with me?
They began to tell him what they were hearing. “And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14;
also in Mark 8.28 and Luke 9.19). Jesus, this is what we have been hearing, some say that you are John the Baptist. Some say that you are Elijah. I have heard others say that they think you are Jeremiah or even one of the prophets risen from the dead.
As you read in Scripture, Herod thought he knew who Jesus was. Mark records the words of Herod. “And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.” (Mark 6:14; see also Luke 9.7) Also in verse 16, Herod plainly stated that Jesus was “. . . John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead” (Mark 6:16).
If you recall, Herod had beheaded John the Baptist, at the behest of Herodias. Her daughter danced at the birthday party of Herod. He promised her whatever she wanted, they asked for the head of John the Baptist, and he granted her request. When he hears about Jesus, he honestly thinks it is John the Baptist, risen from the dead.
Some think that He is the Elijah. People of that day felt that Elijah would precede the coming of the Messiah and prepare the way. So it seems that many here are thinking He is the Elijah, preparing the way for Messiah, when in reality John the Baptist was the Elijah prophesied about. He came and prepared the way for Messiah. The thing that many did not know or maybe did not want to accept was that Jesus was the Messiah.
2. WHO DO YOU SAY?
I have heard what others have said, now I want to know what you think? “He saith
unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15; see also Luke 9.20a). So Jesus is sitting here thinking, this is what the people are saying. Jesus may have thought it to be humorous. So they think that I am John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets. He probably thinks that the people had missed it completely. I am come as the Messiah, with great miracles
occurring and cannot comprehend who I am.
He then asks His disciples to get their answer. They had walked with Him and heard Him preach to poor. The disciples had seen Him heal and deliver so many people. So I am going to ask you the same question. Who do you think I am? I believe that He was concerned with what they thought. They knew that Messiah was to come. He wanted to know if they had been able to realize that they were walking with the Messiah. I wonder if we would have been able to truly understand who He was, if it had been us that was asked.