Summary: With God's help Peter answered the most important question that all of us must answer - Who is Jesus?
A. One day a crowded airline flight was canceled.
1. There was a single gate agent at the desk who was responsible for rebooking the long line of inconvenienced and irritated travelers.
2. Suddenly, an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk and slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, “I have to be on the next flight and it has to be a first class seat!”
3. The agent gently replied, “I’m sorry sir, I’ll be happy to try to help you when it is your turn, but first I’ve got to help these folks who are in line ahead of you.”
4. Not being put off, the angry passenger asked loudly so all could hear, “Do you have any idea who I am?”
5. Without hesitating, the gate agent grabbed her public address microphone and her voice bellowed through the terminal, saying, “May I have your attention please, I have a passenger here at gate 17 who does not know who he is. If anyone can help him discover his identity, please come to gate 17.”
6. The folks in line laughed hysterically while the man gritted his teeth and returned to his place in line.
7. Although everyone was still frustrated that their flight had been canceled, they handled the inconvenience a bit more light-heartedly.
B. In the biblical story that we will discuss today, we will witness Jesus asking His disciples a question similar to the question asked by the angry passenger.
1. Jesus asked the question: “Do you have any idea who I am?”
2. He didn’t ask the question to throw his weight around, or because He wasn’t sure of His identity, rather as we will discover, He asked the question to help His disciples come to the right conclusion.
C. If you have been with us in the last month, then you know that we are in a sermon series on the life of the apostle Peter that we are calling “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.”
1. So far in the series, we have witnessed Peter having both his name and his occupation changed by Jesus.
a. His name was changed from Simon to Peter, which means “rock” and he went from being a fisher of fish to becoming a fisher of people.
2. We watched as Peter learned some important first lessons about spiritual warfare, compassion, and the need for spiritual recharging.
3. And last week we learned that to walk on the water, you have to get out of the boat, and to keep walking on the water you have to stay connected to Jesus.
I. The Story
A. Today, we want to explore an important passage in Matthew 16 that contains a number of controversial interpretations.
1. Our reason for going to this passage has nothing to do with those controversies, but has everything to do with Peter’s growth as a follower of Jesus.
B. Today’s story begins in Matthew 16:13, where the Bible says: 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
1. To secure the necessary privacy for this all-important discussion, Jesus took his disciples to the extreme edge of the northern frontier of Palestine to Caesarea Philippi, about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee.
2. Throughout the Gospels, the title “Son of Man” is one that Jesus often used in reference to Himself.
b. And so the title “Son of Man” had a prophetic and Messianic element to it.
c. It wasn’t meant to confer the notion that the person was human rather than divine.
d. But it was a term that was ambiguous enough to disguise the fact that the “Son of Man” was really the one and only “Son of God.”
3. Jesus knew all things and, therefore, He wasn’t asking this question for His own benefit.
a. Jesus knew what the religious leaders and the masses thought about the “Son of Man.”
b. Jesus also knew what the religious leaders and crowds thought about Him.
c. Nevertheless, to get them thinking, Jesus asked His disciples the question and they gave Him an answer.
C. The Bible says: 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Mt. 16:14)
1. So, when Jesus asked His disciples about what the crowds were saying about Him, they shared the three opinions of the crowds.
2. Some people said that Jesus was John the Baptist.
a. Why would they say that?
b. They probably got the idea from Herod who had beheaded John the Baptist because of the request of his belly dancing step-daughter.