Summary: This message (not a complete manuscript) wrestles with the question that Jesus asked His disciples but also places it in the context of where it was asked?
In the Movie Talladega Nights there is a supper scene, I have “edited” this a little bit. (Characters: Ricky, Carly, Cal, Walker, Texas Ranger, Chip the father-in-law) Show the video if you are brave, but maybe edit it.
“Carly: Supper’s ready! C’mon ya’ll. I’ve been slaving over this for hours.” (it shows all fast food)
“Ricky: Dear Lord Baby Jesus, or as our brothers to the south call you, Jesus, we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Domino’s, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell. ...” (He then prays for each of his family and his teammate Cal)
“Cal: Shake and Bake.” (fist pump)
“Ricky: Dear Lord Baby Jesus, we also thank you for my wife’s father, Chip. We hope that you can use your Baby Jesus powers to heal him and his horrible leg… Dear tiny, infant Jesus, we….”
“Carly: Hey, you know, sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don’t always have to call him “baby.” It’s a bit odd and off-putting to pray to a baby.
Ricky: Well, I like the Christmas Jesus best and I’m saying grace. When you say grace you can say it to grownup Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus or whoever you want.
Carly: You know what I want? I want you to do this grace good so that God will let us win tomorrow.
Ricky: Dear tiny Jesus, in your golden-fleece diapers, ….
Chip: He was a man! He had a beard!
Ricky: Look, I like the baby version the best, do you hear me? ...
Carly: Ricky, finish the … grace.
Cal: I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T shirt, cause it says, like, “I wanna be formal, but I’m here to party, too.” Cause I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party.
Walker: I like to picture Jesus as a ninja fighting off evil samurai.
Cal: I like to think of Jesus, like, with giant eagle’s wings. And singing lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd, with, like, a angel band. And I’m in the front row…
Carly: Hey Cal, why don’t you just shut up?
Cal: Yes, ma’am.
Ricky: Okay. Dear 8 pound, 6 ounce newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant and so cuddly, but still omnipotent, we just thank you for all the races I’ve won and the 21.2 million dollars – woo! (the rest of the family says “woo” too) – love that money, that I have accrued over this past season. Also, due to a binding endorsement contract that stipulates I mention Powerade at each grace, I just want to say that Powerade is delicious and it cools you off on a hot summer day. And we look forward to Powerade’s release of Mystic Mountain Blueberry. Thank you for all your power and your grace, dear baby God. Amen.” (1) (Talladega Nights, modified “Movie Clip Discussions, The Source for Youth Ministry” http://www.thesource4ym.com/movieclipdiscussions/Discussion.aspx?id=235)
Now here is the reason I read that to you: How you see Jesus determines how you see Jesus acting in your life:
vss. 27-28: I heard someone ask "who do you think that I am?"... Quite a different question than "who do you say that I am?" Another person recently said that someone asked them are you a “Believer” or a “Knower”? The person said “I was a believer; I believed in Christ; until in my darkest hour I found Him sitting on the bed with me, and now I’m a knower! I know Christ!”
It's a brief but boldly confrontational question.
It demands an answer.
What you answer determines outcome!
The question could be asked of you?
Your answer is relevant:
Prophet - some say
Elijah - a man of God
A Great and wise Teacher (My bestie!) (My Bff)
Just a good man? Some say!
Context: Consider the contextual setting in which Jesus asks this question. One of our problems is that we look at Scripture through a Western lens, and with little background knowledge of the setting; or cultural meanings.
This took place at Caesarea Philippi (You can expound on its name if you want)… (Photos can easily be Googled, but if you have been there even better)…
Photo 1: Greek City “Pan” (half man/half goat) …Was once a beautiful area of streams flowing from the cave. The cave itself was referred to as the “Gates of Hell (Hades)” where Pan would come out and have his way with the virgins (leave it at that).
Photo 2: (Displaying the temples) It was customary when you conquered something you would build temples to their gods, right along side of the temples that existed. So in this spot were temples to:
Caesar Augustus – Zeus – Pan. The Rock wall behind, with little niches on which statues of gods would be set was called the “Rock of the gods”