"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." (Matthew 16:13-17) In this passage we see three important questions: Who do men (others) say Jesus is? Who do you say that He is? Who does God say that He is, i.e., through a revelation from the Father through the Scriptures? We must not let what others wrongly say about Jesus and/or wrongly model about Jesus influence our view of Christ. For example, the best seller The Da Vinci Code, portrays a false Christ. (Ken Boa has skillfully exposed the error of Dan Brown’s book and recorded a DVD presentation that is available for order through our Web site at reflectionsministries.org.) But even in the church, Jesus has been misrepresented and our friends and other Christians may have a wrong or limited knowledge of Jesus that can influence us if we are not regularly hearing what the Scriptures say about Him. Jesus is always asking the question he asked the disciples: “But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?”
God’s highest purpose for our life and our highest eternal good is to be conformed to the image of Jesus. "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brothers." (Romans 8:29) Christlikeness (or the character of God, the fruit of the Spirit) is what will survive the purging fire at the judgment seat of Christ – the gold, silver and precious stones that will be rewarded for all eternity. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15) And the more we “behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29), the more we “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), the more we know the “real” Jesus through God’s Word and by His Spirit, the more we will become like Him. "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."
(2 Corinthians 3:18) This gradual process of sanctification occurs as we learn of Jesus, both through study, and most importantly, by applying to our lives (obedience) what Jesus says. (James 1:22-25) Dr. James Houston puts it this way: “You can only become “real” by relating to a “real” person and Jesus is the only perfectly “real” Person – the only Man who was all God intended mankind to be.”
Who do men (others) say Jesus is? All world religions deny the deity of Christ. They may honor Him as a prophet but none of them confess Him as God. The exclusivity of Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me” are declarations that led Him to the cross. Jesus not only declares Himself to be the only way to God but also says He is the only One who can reveal God: "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Matthew 11: 27) He claims deity: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) "Jesus answered: "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) Scripture proclaims His deity: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." (Colossians 1:15) "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Hebrews 1:3) And His resurrection is the ultimate argument to validate all the claims He made – of being God: "Who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 1:4) His resurrection was more than resuscitation – being brought back to life. Jesus was resurrected and became a whole new order of creation as a human being – that could appear and disappear, walk through walls, rise in ascension, and yet eat and walk and talk and appear as a normal human being.
Many people are willing to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher but not as God. But as C.S. Lewis says: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic or else the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up as a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come away with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.”
Over the next months we will study the life of Christ as seen in the gospels and build and deepen our belief in and response to the Jesus that Peter confessed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Enjoy Dr. S. M. Lockridge’s description of Who Jesus is from a message he preached on: THAT’S MY KING:
“The Bible says my King is a seven- way King: He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King. He’s the King of Israel – that’s a national King. He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages. He’s the King of heaven. He’s the King of glory. He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of Lords. That’s my King. Well ——– I wonder do you know Him?
David said: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of his shoreless supplies. No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. Do you know Him?
He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands in the solitude of Himself. He is august and He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He is the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He is the supreme problem in higher criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He is the cardinal necessity for spiritual religion. He’s the miracle of the age. He’s, yes He is, He is the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He’s the only One qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior. I wonder if you know Him today?
He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleanses the leper. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. I wonder if you know Him?
Well, my King, He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory. Do you know Him?
Well, His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you. But, He’s indescribable. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. Well you can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him.
Well the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. Yeah!!! That’s my King! That’s my King!
And Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever and ever and ever – how long is that? And ever and ever. And when you get through with all the forevers, then Amen. Good God Almighty. Amen.”
Well, I wonder do you know Him?
Until He comes,
Len and Kristen