Summary: We will answer the question "Who Is Jesus."
Text Matthew 16:13-20
Focus we will focus on who people claim Jesus is, and what the Bible claims concerning him.
This morning we are going to begin a series in which I have entitled “Foundational Studies”. In this series we will look at some of the basic tenants of the Christian Faith that we might have a better understanding of the truth we proclaim.
I am concerned as I have found trough research and study that a majority of Christians are unable to articulate the teachings of the bible.
We will begin this series as we investigate the question, “Who is Jesus?”
Who do others claim concerning Jesus?
As we come to Matthew 16, Jesus asks his disciples a series of important questions, the first was “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
The disciples answered Jesus’ question with the common view that Jesus was one of the great prophets who had come back to life. This belief may have stemmed from Deuteronomy 18:18, where God said he would raise up a prophet from among the people. Herod had thought that Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life (14:1-2), so apparently this rumor was widespread.
The people considered Jesus to be Elijah because Elijah had been a great prophet, and one like him was expected to come before the Messiah arrived (see Malachi 4:5).
Jeremiah may have been considered because, according to Jewish legend, he was “immortal” (his death is not mentioned in Scripture)—thus, like Elijah, he did not die but was taken to heaven.
Today, we find numerous views as to who people feel that Jesus is.
The Pseudo-Christian look
Mormonism (Italics from Walter Martin)
…teaches that Jesus Christ was not the Divine Son of God, rather the spirit brother of the devil who celebrated his marriages to both “the Marys and Martha”, whereby he could see his seed before he was crucified.
Concerning Christ’s atonement, they claim “that the sacrifice made upon the cross by Jesus Christ in the form of His own blood was ineffective for the cleansing of some sins.”
Jehovah’s Witness (following italic s from Fritz Ridenour except for Gnosticism)
…believe that Jesus Christ was not God but God’s first created creature. Jesus was not divine.
…concerning Christ’s atonement, they believe that Christ’s death provides the opportunity for man to work for his salvation: perfect human life for eternity on an Eden-like earth.
…claims that Jesus was not God. Science and Health states: “Jesus Christ is not God…” Scientists make Christ an outstanding man, a great teacher, but deny His deity.
Concerning the atonement they claim that Christ’s shed blood on the cross did not cleanse man from sin and his disciples were fooled into thinking him dead when he was really alive in the tomb.
…in the view of Unitarianism, Jesus Christ was no more or less divine than any man. They deny the doctrine of the trinity as well as the deity of Christ.
Within the system of Unitarianism, there is no need for a savior as man is essentially good and can save himself by improvement – “redemption of character.”
…is a form of religion which teaches that there is a hidden knowledge and is only available to those who have been enlightened. That there is no real need of salvation, only self enlightenment. And that Jesus can help us but is not necessary for salvation.
…When I use the term Liberalism, what I am referring to is Biblical Scholars who have rejected the traditional Orthodox Doctrines of the church for a new brand of theology.
Liberal scholars have made claims such as Jesus Christ never really lived and that his disciples made up the stories concerning him in order to validate their new movement. Spiritual atonement is not the answer; rather all we need is self improvement through education and better social programs which will eventually lead to a better society.
The Eastern Claims
…many Jews accept that Jesus was a good teacher of ethics but do not accept him as Messiah (Savior) because Jesus did not bring lasting peace and Jesus was declared to be divine and the Jewish Messiah is a man sent from God to deliver Israel from oppression, not to save individuals from personal sin.
As far as salvation is concerned, Jews believe that anyone may gain salvation through commitment to the one God and moral living. They believe in and look for an afterlife, however, it does not stress preparing man for the next world as much as guiding his ethical and moral behavior in the present life.
…teaches that Jesus was a good teacher who was less than Buddha. They deny that he was divine because they deny the existence of a personal God.