Summary: How we view Jesus Christ determines how we value Him.
What we think about a person determines how we treat that person. When we think a person is “masungit,” we feel like walking on eggshells when we are with that person. When we think a person is “mabait,” we are more comfortable when we are with him. Our response to that person depends upon our relationship with him. The more we know a person, the more we move closer to Him or farther from Him.
Thus, to paraphrase what A.W. Tozer wrote, what we believe about Jesus Christ is the most important thing about us. What we think about our Lord determines how we treat Him. I pray that the more we get to know Jesus, the closer we move towards Him. Our response to our Lord depends upon our relationship with Him. That is also the concern of our Lord Jesus. How we VIEW Jesus Christ determines how we VALUE Him. Let us read Matthew 16:13-17. “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” This morning we will talk about “Will the Real Christ Please Stand Up?” Let us pray…
Jesus and His disciples went to “the district of Caesarea Philippi” (v. 13a), that was about 25 kilometers north of the Sea of Galilee. Before the time of Jesus, that place was a center of worship for the pagan god Baal and then later the half-human, half-goat, Greek god Pan. Nowadays when you visit it, you will still see the ruins of the pagan shrines and the cave dedicated to Pan. Afterwards, it became a center for worship for Augustus Caesar. People built a temple there to honor the emperor and to declare, “Caesar is Lord!”
Here in this place, where people ran after false gods, Jesus “asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’” (v. 13b) What a great place to ask whether people knew who He really is! Would they truly recognize His lordship? Or, would they just count Him as one of the gods there? Would they see Him as Somebody who stood side by side with other great men? Or, would they see Him standing all by Himself and no one even coming close to Him?
The disciples replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (v. 14) Herod thought Jesus was actually John the Baptist who rose from the dead. Since it was prophesied that Elijah would return, people speculated that Jesus fulfilled that prophecy. Others must have seen Jesus cry. So, they concluded that He must be Jeremiah the weeping prophet. It’s the same thing today. If we ask a hundred people their opinion about Christ, we might even get a hundred and one different and opposing opinions. Some of you here might even say, “Si Jesus? Siya si Bro!” This could be the reason why people do not really value Christ. It is because they have a wrong view about Him. How we view Jesus determines how we value Him.
Jesus did not settle with those answers. He now asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” (v. 15) Look at the conjunction “but”. It is as if He was saying, “No matter what people say about Me, what do you personally think? Would you just go along with what they say? Or, would you dare to really know Me?” Warren Wiersbe wrote, “One thing is clear: We can never make a true decision about Jesus Christ by taking a poll of the people. (But some people do get their ‘spiritual knowledge’ this way!) The important thing is not what others say, but what do you and I personally say? The decisions of the crowd (wrong or right) can never substitute for personal decisions.” The question that we need to answer is not, “What do people think about Jesus?” The question that we must answer is, “What do you think about Him?” Ideas have consequences. That question has no safe answer. It can only be a right or a wrong answer. We must have a right view of Christ so that we can have a right value for Him.
The only right answer to that question is the very answer that God Himself provided. Let us read verses 16 and 17. “Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’” God revealed this answer to Peter. The Message version goes like this: “You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.” In Matthew 3:16, God the Father declared this about Christ: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Peter’s proclamation echoes God’s revelation. When he declared that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” He confessed that Christ is the Son of God, equal in nature to the Father. Because of his confession, the Lord called Peter “blessed.” Do you want to be blessed? Have the right view of Christ. How do you have a right view of Christ? Hold on to what the Bible, that is, God’s revelation, says about Him.