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Matthew 16:13-16

WHO IS JESUS TO YOU?

Intro: Jesus and His disciples are in the “coasts of Caesarea Philippi. This was a predominately Gentile area located some 25 miles north of Bethsaida where Jesus had just healed a blind man, Mark 8:22-26. It is here that a spring issues forth from Mount Hermon that forms one of the tributaries that becomes the Jordan River.

This was a beautiful area that was steeped in pagan religion. In ancient time, the city had been called “Balinas, because it had been a center of Baal worship. Baal was the Phoenician god of fertility and nature. Later, the name was changed to Panias, because the Greeks believed that their god Pan was born in a cave in the hills above the city, at the foot of Mount Hermon. Pan was a half-goat, half-man god who was believed to be the guardian of flocks and nature. In fact, the modern name of this ancient city is Banias, which is a form of Panias.

Caesarea Philippi also contained a gleaming marble temple, built by Herod Philip, to honor Caesar, the Roman Emperor, who was considered to be a god. The citizens of this city were required to enter this temple, at least once per year, place a pinch of incense on a burning altar and proclaim, “Caesar is Lord!

 

It was here, in this city devoted to the worship of idols and manmade gods that Jesus chose as the place to make a fuller revelation of Himself to His disciples. It was also here that Simon Peter saw for the first time that Jesus Christ was truly the Son of God.

Jesus used this tragic backdrop of paganism and false worship to cause His men to think about the most vital issue of life. That issue is, Who is Jesus To You? Correctly understanding Who Jesus is means the difference between being saved and being lost. It means the difference between Heaven and Hell.

Today, I want to take a close look at our Savior’s question in verse 15. The question is, “Whom say ye that I am? your answer to that question determines how you will live your life here, and it will determine where you will go when you die. It is the single most important question you will ever hear, or that you will ever answer.

Let’s consider the possible answers together as I try to preach around the question: “Who Is Jesus To You?

 

I. LET’S ASK HUMANITY

A. What Have Men Said In The Past? During the life of Christ, men had a lot to say about Him and who they thought He was. Verse 14 shows us who some thought Jesus to be. Some thought:

1. John The Baptist A holy man willing to die for his faith. Even King Herod thought that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead, Matt. 14:1-2.

2. Elijah The greatest of all the OT prophets. The Jews were expecting Elijah to return just before Messiah came, Mal. 4:5. Some believed that Jesus was the forerunner, but not the messiah.

3. Jeremiah A holy prophet who was expected to return to earth just before Messiah came. He was supposed to bring with him the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the Altar of Incense which he had hidden in Mount Nebo before he died, 2 Maccabees 2:1-12; 2 Esdres 2:18.

4. One of the Prophets A man of God sent with a message for their time, or a man in whom dwelt the spirit of one of the great prophets.

 

(Note: All of these views elevated Jesus above the status of an ordinary man. They show that the Jews at least believed Him to be a great man, even a holy man, but their views of Him fall far short of what is required for salvation.)

 

5. Not everyone in Jesus’ day thought He was a great man. Some thought He was nothing more than a nobody. Some even thought He was an evil man.

         A lowly carpenter – Mark 6:3

         The son of Joseph – John 6:42

         A sinner – John 9:24

         An illegitimate child – John 8:41

         A devil – Matt. 12:24

         A mad man John 10:20

         A fool and the object of contempt and scorn – Matt. 27:38-43

6. Even His half-brothers had harsh things to say about Jesus – John 7:3-5.

 

Note: If they will say these types of things about Jesus now, what will they say about Him when He isn’t here on earth, working miracles and demonstrating His power, Luke 23:31?

 

B. What Do Men Say In The Present? Just as men had an opinion concerning the identity of Jesus Christ in His day, so they still do today. Here is what a few people are saying about Jesus.

1. The Jehovah’s Witnesses Michael the Archangel is no other than the only begotten Son of God, now Jesus Christ. (New Heavens and New Earth, pp, 30-31)

2. The Mormons Jesus, our elder brother was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our father in Heaven.” (Journal of Discourses; Vol. 1, pp. 50-51.) “…that Lucifer the son of the morning is our elder brother, and the brother of Jesus. (Apostle B. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 163-164.) “Jesus was married at Cana of Galilee and had many wives, including Mary and Martha, he also had man children. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, pp. 345-346; Vol. 2, pp. 79-82; Vol. 4, pp. 259-260; The Seer, p. 172). Jesus was the first baby born to God in Heaven, when God, in a physical body, had sexual intercourse with Mary, His Own daughter. He is the spirit brother of Lucifer.

3. Islam Jesus was no more than a mortal whom Allah favored and made and example to the Israelites. They are unbelievers who say God is Messiah, Mary’s son. (Sura 43:59) Jesus was a prophet, but He was not crucified on a cross. He will return, but He is not God.

3. The Hindu – Jesus is just one of millions of gods.

5. The Jewish Talmud Jewish writings that detail how Jews are to live their lives, has the following things to say about Jesus. She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters. (Sanhedrin, 106a) “Miriam (Mary) the hairdresser had sexual relations with many men., (Shabbeth 104b) “Jesus was executed because He practiced Sorcery, (Sanhedrin 43a) “Jesus is in Hell being boiled in hot excrement. (Giffin 57a) The Jewish Encyclopedia pictures Jesus as “blind in one eye and lame in one foot.

6. People living all around us have an opinion concerning Jesus Christ. Some think He was a good man. Others think He was a great teacher. People hold all types of ideas concerning who Jesus Christ is. What is sad is that nothing I have shared with you thus far is even close to the truth. All of these people and groups have ideas about Jesus, but none of them are biblical ideas. Since humanity cannot help us determine the identity of Jesus, then let’s ask Heaven.

 

I. Let’s Ask Humanity

 

II. LET’S ASK HEAVEN

A. The Sovereign Notice what God the Father says about Jesus. ... This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased., Matt. 3:17. “...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him., Matt. 17:5.

B. The Spirits The Spirit world has something to say about Jesus.

1. Heavenly Spirits Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:8-20

2. Hellish Spirits Matt. 8:29; Luke 4:41; James 2:19

C. The Scriptures Isa. 9:6; Micah 5:2; Isa. 11:1-5; Jer. 23:5; Isa. 53:1-12; John 1:1, 14; Mark 1:1; Phil. 2:5-11; Acts 2:36; Acts 10:36. The Bible is filled with information about the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even the names given to Jesus in the Bible speak of His position: He is called Lord, this implies that He is in control; that He is deity. He is called Jesus, this name means “Jehovah is salvation.” This is His earthly name. It reminds us that He is human. He is called Christ, the name means “anointed, it refers to Jesus as the One chosen by God to be the Messiah. The Bible is crystal clear on Who Jesus Christ is!

D. The Saints Many of the great figures of the New Testament offered their testimony to the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Jesus told Peter in Matt. 16:17, the knowledge of Who Jesus is does not come from the human heart, it comes from Heaven above. For the sake of time, we will only ask two of these great men at the moment: John the Baptist, John 1:34 and Paul, Acts 9:20.

E. The Savior What a person says about himself is also important in discussing his identity. Here are some of the things Jesus said about Himself.

         John 14:9, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father

         John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.”

         John 8:58, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

         John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

         John 17 The whole chapter!

         John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.

         John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.”

         John 10:9, “I am the door.”

         John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd.”

         John 10:36, “I am the Son of God

         John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

         John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life…

         John 15:1, “I am the true vine.”

         C.S. Lewis once said, “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 - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.

 

I. Let’s Ask Humanity

II. Let’s Ask Heaven

 

III. LET’S ASK OUR OWN HEARTS

A. Let Hear From Other Hearts In the pages of the Bible, several people had a personal encounter with Jesus that forever changed their lives. I want to share a few of their statements about Jesus with you today.

1. Simeon Luke 2:28-32, “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation...A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.

2. Nathaniel John 1:49, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel.

3. Simon Peter Matt. 16:16

4. The Woman At The Well John 4:29, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

5. Martha John 11:27 Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

6. The Dying Thief Luke 23:39-43 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

7. The Roman Centurion Mark 15:39 Truly this man was the Son of God.

8. Thomas John 20:24-28 My Lord and my God.

 

(Note: There are many other witness that we could call to testify as to Who Jesus is. But, these are sufficient to see that any life that is touched directly by His is a life that is profoundly affected!)

 

B. Let’s Hear From Our Hearts We have heard from man today. We have seen that, among humans, there are those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way of salvation. We have other testimony from lives that have been changed by Him. These indicate that He is Who He claims to be.

We have heard what God Almighty has said about Him. We have listened as the angels gave voice to what they know to be the truth. We have even heard the grudging witness of the demonic spirits.

We have heard enough to be convinced that Jesus Christ is Someone about Whom we must make a decision. With that in mind, what does your heart say about Him today?

1. Is He just a baby at Christmas and a guy on a cross at Easter? Or is He the crucified and risen Lord of your life?

2. Is He a way to God, just one among many? Or. Is He the way, the truth and the life?

3. Is He a good man, A great teacher and a prophet? Or is He the Son of God and your only hope for salvation?

4. Is He a liar? Is He a lunatic? Or, is He your Lord?

5. What is the testimony of your heart today? Are you trusting Jesus and Him alone for the salvation of your soul? Have you faced a time when you saw yourself as a sinner and Jesus Christ as your only hope? Are you trusting Jesus and Jesus alone for your soul’s salvation today?

6. Let’s hear from the Bible one more time: John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12; Rom. 10:13; Rom. 10:9. Where do you stand in the midst of all this? Who is Jesus to you?

 

Conc: Who is Jesus to you? Is your answer one that will guarantee you a home in heaven when you leave this world? Is your answer the kind that pleases the flesh, the world and the devil, or is it the kind that pleases the Lord? Are you saved? Do you want to be saved? Will you some to Jesus right now? These questions are vital. The most vital of all questions is the one we have been considering together” “Who is Jesus to you?

Simon Peter got the answer right, v. 16. He only got it right because the answer had been revealed to him by the Lord, v. 17. Right now, the Lord is revealing His identity to your heart. He is convicting you of your sins and He is drawing you to Himself, John 6:44. Now is the time for you to come to Him. Now is the moment for you to be saved, 2 Cor. 6:2.

Right now you are asking “What should I do with Jesus? One day the question will be,What will Jesus do with me?

 

What will you do with Jesus?

Jesus is standing

at your heart’s door,

Standing and waiting,

He’s knocked before.

This is the question

you face once more,

What will you do with Jesus?

 

At your sad heart,

He is knocking still,

Longing to enter, your soul to fill.

You must accept or reject His will,

What will you do with Jesus?

 

Oh, will you leave

Him alone outside,

Or, will you chose Him,

what’er betide,

This is the question

you must decide,

What will you do with Jesus?

 

Chorus

What will you do with Jesus?

What will you do with Jesus?

Neutral you cannot be!

One day your heart will be asking,

What will Jesus do with me?

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