Summary: It is interesting to poll the crowd to see what others think of Jesus (Yeshua). What matters, though is what YOU think of him. Understanding Jesus (Yeshua) impacts the actions of our lives.
1. St. John’s University is apparently known for being a theological school where intellectualism is highly regarded. Someone wrote the following graffiti on one of the walls there:
Jesus said unto them: “Who do you say that I am?”
And they replied: “You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationships.”
And Jesus said: “What?”
Whoever wrote that graffiti was basically complaining about some of the names and expressions that men had invented to try to define Jesus.
2. It is difficult to come up with a one word description of Yeshua (Jesus) – Son of Man; Son of God; Messiah (Christ); Holy One; Nazarene; Prince of Peace; etc.
3. Matthew 16.13-20
4. Easy to criticize Church
Worship service; sermons; building; bulletin; leadership; programs
Church is not the place many want to go – bad impressions;
Christians see church as “their” organization – the Chi Omicron Chi fraternity
5. This Passage has real impact on our lives – climax of Yeshua’s teaching ministry; a type of final exam for the apostles (sink or swim – one question); our answer to this question is key – our eternal destiny centers on it;
I. A Key Observation
A. Looking Out to Others
The difference between a conviction and a preference, according to the U.S. Supreme Court:
A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. Circumstances such as: 1) peer pressure; if your beliefs are such that other people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences, not convictions, 2) family pressure, 3) lawsuits, 4) jail, 5) threat of death; would you die for your preferences? A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him. A conviction is not something that you discover; it is something that you purpose in your heart (cf. Daniel 1-3). Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle. David C. Gibbs, Jr., Christian Law Association, P.O. Box 30290, Cleveland, Ohio 44130.
1. There was Speculation about Yeshua (Jesus) – John the Baptist; Elijah; Jeremiah; a Prophet
2. View of Messiah as political
3. Observations of Yeshua (Jesus) – Rabbi; miracle worker; not politician
4. Today? – Good man; good teacher; ethical; ONE way to heaven (John 14.6); other views of Messiah – USF student – He will return as he came via a woman
B. Looking In to Self
1. Great Confession – “Messiah-God” (literal translation in Hebrew)
A very short boy wanted so badly to play basketball. He even told his Dad that he wanted to become a pro when he was older. Knowing that his son would never be able to play the game, the Dad asked the local coach if there was anything that he could recommend to make the boy taller. "You might take him down to the museum and put him on that old torture stretch rack," the coach said. Several weeks later the coach asked the father if putting the boy on the stretch rack had helped. "Well, it didn’t make him any taller, but he confessed to several things that I never knew he did," was the Dad’s answer.
2. Incarnation – Atonement – 1 Corinthians 1.22-24
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
II. A Key Inspiration
A. Encountering God
1. We are to KNOW God – not know about God – Jeremiah 31.33-34
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
2. More than mental knowledge
4. Holy Spirit – John 14.15-17
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.