Summary: In our image-conscious world, we often try to remake Christ to suit our needs. Presented here in a way for both believers and seekers, the good news is that Christ isn’t who we say, but Christ is who He is -- the Love of God made flesh to save humanity!
We’re going to start this morning with a quick Marketing 101 lesson. Brand image is a key concept in Marketing 101. Brand image is the concept that you’re going to connect a particular product with a particular idea. Brand image.
They say that out of all the advertising dollars spent in the United States – whether it’s radio, television, magazines, newspaper, internet – more than half of advertising is not meant to get you to go out to buy the product. It is meant to get you to associate the product with an idea. To connect their product with some idea in your mind.
There’ve been Mitsubishi commercials that have been showing for three or four years now that are a perfect example of this. They’re all a little bit different, but they’re all variations on the same theme. In every single commercial, they drive a Mitsubishi car. It’s always full, there’s always four or five people in the car. They’re always young people. They’re always driving and looking like they’re on the way to some party or something. They’re always listening to music, and they’re always singing along with the music.
They change the cars, and they change the people in the cars, and they change the music playing, but otherwise the commercial is pretty much the same.
This commercial isn’t meant to make you rush out and buy a Mitsubishi, since you might not even be in the market for a car. What the commercial is trying to do is to associate Mitsubishi cars in your mind with this kind of attitude – youthful, fun-loving, good times with friends, enjoying life kind of an attitude.
So maybe, the next time that you are in the market for a car, or maybe the next time you’re passing by a Mitsubishi dealership, you will think to yourself, I fancy myself to be youthful. And I fancy myself to be someone who enjoys life, and likes good times with friends. And so, maybe Mitsubishi is the car for me.
And it’s not just products that have a brand image. Celebrities try to do this all the time. Politicians have their image that they try to present. Professional athletes have their image.
I was reading an article from Newsweek magazine not too long ago. They were talking about Meg Ryan’s new movie. Meg Ryan is an actress who starred in movies like “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail” – romantic comedies. And she has a particular image that she presents – she’s wholesome, she’s innocent, she’s sweet, she’s cute, she’s young – that’s her image.
The article said she’s coming out with a new movie where she’s playing kindof a racy character, and they’re wondering if it’s going to be a success or not. In the last fifteen years, every single time she has been in a movie that played to her image – young, sweet, innocent, wholesome – they’ve been big successes. All her romantic comedies have been successful. But every time she’s tries to go against that image and be in a drama or a darker role or more of a serious movie, nobody has gone to see the movies. And so they’re not real hopeful that this movie will be a success for her, because it doesn’t fit her image.
Now, I mention this all because when we look at the Bible passage that was read this morning, you’ve got to admit, Jesus is not portraying an image that is going to ‘sell.’
So he asks the first question, “What are people saying about me?” “What do people think about me?” It’s a marketing question – “What is my image out there?”
One of the disciples says, people think that you’re Elijah, who has come back again. Elijah was a great miracle worker. He could do amazing things. Jesus, you’re doing amazing things – you must be Elijah.
Somebody else says, you’re john the Baptist who has come back. And of course, John the Baptist made a big announcement that “Someone is coming after me who is even more powerful than I am.” They figured if Jesus is coming after John the Baptist, then Jesus is announcing that after him will come something even better, and even bigger.
And then somebody else said, “People think you’re one of the prophets.” You’re somebody who is wise and knows what God wants to say to the world today, so you’re going to tell the world what God’s message is for the world today. You are a wise prophet.”
After Jesus asked the question, “Who do people say that I am?” he asked the question, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter was the only one who had the guts to respond. He said, “Jesus, you are the Christ. You’re not just any prophet. You are not simply a person in the Bible who has come back again. You are the Christ.”