Summary: This sermon shows the foundation of the historic church is built on Peter’s confession of faith. The modern church is no different. The gift of salvation comes through faith and love.
Paonia United Methodist Church
August 25, 2002
Rev. John Nadasi
A fourth-grade teacher was giving her pupils a lesson in logic.
"Here is the situation," she said.
"A man is standing up in a boat in the middle of a river, fishing.
He loses his balance, falls in, and begins splashing and yelling for help.
His wife hears the commotion, knows he can’t swim,
and runs down to the bank.
Why do you think she ran to the bank?"
A girl raised her hand and asked, "To draw out all his savings?"
Now today in our journey through Matthew –
the disciples are faced with a similar situation –
like being in class when the teacher asks a very important question.
They want to seem intelligent so they blurt out an answer –
not always the right one –
but an answer none the less.
Well this morning Peter blurts out an answer that is both correct and amazing –
only to follow it up by sticking his foot his mouth
with a huge blunder you will hear more about next week.
This mornings text comes from the latter half of Chapter 16 of Matthew
And it is a crucial section of Scripture.
In it we see the gospel in miniature.
If you boil it all down to the basic fundamentals,
the gospel has two aspects about Jesus Christ:
"who am I?"
and "will you trust me?"
We focus on the first question…
Peter’s Confession of Christ
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
This is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the last several weeks,
We have heard the stories of Jesus’ miracles.
We have heard about Jesus feeding the multitude,
Him walking on the water,
And last week, the healing of a Caananite
Great things have been happening everywhere that Jesus and the disciples have gone.
This morning, Jesus checks to see if the disciples have been paying attention.
This morning’s test begins with a simple question.
To begin with Jesus asks his disciples “who do people say that I am?”
And, the responses were quite interesting…
All of them regarded him as a prophet or of one sent by God,
But the answers were never anything more than intentionally vague.
The disciples in verse 14 tell Him many people think He is John the Baptist
or one of the great prophets.
And, this is where the test starts…
Its when the story gets personal.
Jesus asks Peter “who do you say that I am?”
Understand something here…
Jesus asked this of His closest followers.
Only one of them had any kind of an answer.
The rest just stood there and looked at him.
They flat out didn’t know what to say.
The fact that these were his closest followers and friends
That didn’t know how to answer such a direct question makes me
wonder, what if I he were to ask us that same question today?
What would you say?
How many folks who have sat in the church pews for years
Would struggle to answer such a direct question?
You know, I think that there are quite a few folks in the church
who would not know what to say.
When I have asked this before ,
I have heard things like,
a great teacher or prophet,
a good and moral person.
But, in our modern world,
Very few would answer that he was the Son of God,
It would be more likely that he would be seen as a criminal.
Well, he would have everyone mad at him.
the FDA for turning water into wine without a license,
the EPA for killing fig trees,
the AMA for practicing medicine without a license,
the Dept. of Health for asking people to open graves,
for raising the dead and for feeding 5,000 people in the wilderness,