Who is Jesus?

Posted: August 13, 2012 in Matthew

Matthew 16:13-20, “Who is Jesus?”

Have you ever had a case of mistaken identity?  You put your hand up to wave excitedly to a person in a restaurant, only to find out that you had no idea who that person was.  Sometimes we get a glimpse of a person, but we really don’t have a clue as to who the person is.  That was the case among Jesus and the people.  They got a glimpse of Him and drew their own conclusions, but missed the main point – they missed out on Jesus entirely.

Not so with Peter.  For as much as Peter has messed up in the past, and been known as the disciple with little faith, he experiences a marvelous gift of faith from God, and is proclaimed blessed by Jesus as Peter proclaims with certainty who Jesus is.  To Peter, there is no doubt: Jesus is Christ the King, the Son of God – the Savior of the world, and the promise of God fulfilled.  As Peter comes to that revelation, Jesus tells him even more – this would be the foundation bedrock of God’s people for next 2000 years.  What Peter experienced in faith would be the same thing all of us who experience when we come to faith in Christ. 

Matthew 16:13–20 (NKJV)
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

  1. Where?  The location sets a dramatic stage for the conversation to follow (its landscape will definitely play a part).  25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee…perhaps leaving the scrutiny of the Pharisees & Sadducees for a time.  The cave there was rife with pagan history, being dedicated to the Greek god Pan (god of the wild).  With the pagan roots of many different deities worshipped there, it provided a natural occasion for Jesus to ask the disciples what rumors were floating around the people regarding His identity.
  2. Why would Jesus ask at all?  Jesus is omniscient – He already knew what the people thought of Him.  He already knew who believed in Him and who rejected Him.  Jesus has demonstrated His divine omniscience on other occasions (such as when He knew what the Pharisees were thinking when He forgave a paralyzed man his sin), so certainly this isn’t a problem for Jesus here.  Jesus did not ask because He needed information; He asked because He needed the disciples to think this question through.  (Knowing Peter’s later statement of belief, perhaps Jesus asked the question specifically to bring Peter to this point of faith!)
  3. This is still a good question today.  If we’re going to tell the world about Jesus, we first need to know if our culture knows anything at all about Him, or if they have false ideas regarding who He is.  Mention “God” to a group of 100 people, and you might get 100 different ideas as to who God is.  The name “Jesus” narrows it down, but not as much as we might imagine.  There are many false ideas about Jesus ranging from the heretical “Jesus” offered up by the Mormons & Jehovah Witnesses (in the cultish ideas about Him being less than fully God) – to the emasculated Jesus of the liberal church who is stripped of all power and authority.  Some people just look at Jesus as a nice teacher of morality – or as a revolutionary bent on social upheaval – or any number of ideas apart from the complete picture given to us in the Scripture.  We want to proclaim the TRUE Jesus to the world, which means we need to be aware of the false ideas that exist about Him.
  4. Notice there’s no question of how Jesus views Himself.  “I, the Son of Man…”  Jesus used this title often when referring to Himself, and does so again here (blatantly so!).  What does it mean?  If you do a word search in the Old Testament, by far the most references will be found from God to Ezekiel, as that was how God referred to the prophet.  But that’s not the context with Jesus.  Jesus’ reference comes from a different prophet, when Daniel had visions of the glory of God and the end of days.  Daniel 7:13–14, "(13) “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. (14) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed." []  Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man is an unmistakable reference to the glorious reigning Messiah – the expected anointed one of God.  Although the title may have been mysterious to Jesus’ listeners when they first heard it, there’s no doubt that after Jesus was raised from the dead, the apostles could remember this and know exactly what Jesus meant by it.  The first martyr, Stephen, acknowledged as much when he looked up as he was being executed to say that he saw the heavens opened and “the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:56)  To the point in Matt 16, Jesus fully and repeatedly claimed to be the Son of Man – meaning that He repeatedly claimed to be the Son of God.  Jesus does so not only here, but when He affirms Peter’s own confession of faith.  Never let anyone convince you that Jesus never claimed to be God!  Jesus unflinchingly did so.

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

  1. Of course these were the answers that the disciples heard from among the people.  The parallel accounts in Mark & Luke each mention a portion of Matthew’s listing – only Matthew includes Jeremiah.  Interestingly, every single option (no matter which historical account we read) is a prophet from the past.  Not a single one looked forward to future prophecy.  Obviously the OT does not teach reincarnation, but it’s difficult to tell if the people had assumed some sort of reincarnation, resurrection, or if they thought Jesus had picked up the mantle of these other prophets along the lines of Elijah and Elisha.  Elisha carried on the role of his teacher, and was given similar power and authority by God.  Perhaps that’s what the people thought happened here.
  2. John the Baptist: This was the view held by Herod Antipas (Mt 14:1-2), and apparently he wasn’t the only one.  Out of all of the possibilities, this one is the most illogical.  After all, Jesus and John had contemporary ministries (instead of successive).  IOW, until John’s death, they ministered at the same time & even John’s disciples complained that people were starting to go to Jesus instead of John.  How could Jesus BE John?!  Additionally, John’s purpose in ministry was different than that of Jesus.  John specifically prepared people for Jesus, and made his ministry purpose very clear. … So why did people think Jesus may have been John?  Like John, Jesus preached repentance.  In fact, Jesus shared the same message as John when He first began His ministry.  Matthew 3:1–2, "(1) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (2) and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”"  Matthew 4:17, "(17) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”" []  These were different ministries, but the same message: repentance!  From John’s perspective, people were to repent because of the coming of the King.  Jesus told people to repent because He IS the King & He was already here.  People needed a change of mind & change of direction (which is what the word means).  They needed to change the way they thought about sin, and then act in accordance with that change.
  3. Elijah: This is one of the most famous of OT prophets, known primarily for the incredible miracles that God did through him.  Elijah did not write a single book, but he left an immense legacy.  He called fire from heaven, he called in a drought (and called it off again), he made a pot of oil never run out, and he even raised the dead (among other things).  The Jewish people looked at the miracles of Jesus, and understandably realized that the last time they had witnessed Jesus of this magnitude was when Elijah and Elisha were alive.  Additionally, Elijah (or a prophet in his role) WAS expected to come again prior to the appearance of the Messiah (Mal 4:5).  So the people assumed that must have been Jesus.  Of course in reality, Jesus didn’t serve in the role of Elijah; John the Baptist did.  Jesus specifically told the people this (Mt 11:14) – the problem was they didn’t listen to Him, or if they listened, they didn’t believe.  Jesus certainly did do incredible miracles, no doubt!  But that wasn’t all He did.
  4. Jeremiah: Here was a prophet who was known not for miracles, but for his proclamation and compassion.  Jeremiah lived right at the time God allowed the Babylonians to come into Jerusalem, conquer the people & take them away into captivity.  God told Jeremiah to warn the people about the coming judgment, and teach them what God had said He was going to do.  And Jeremiah shed many tears over the people as he realized the horrific nature of what was about to happen.  The books of Jeremiah & Lamentations (his sorrowful “laments”) record his teaching and mourning.  How did the people respond to Jeremiah’s message?  They didn’t listen to him.  Likewise with Jesus.  People flocked in droves to hear His teaching.  They may not have understood everything Jesus was saying, but they certainly acknowledged that He taught with the authority of God.  Jesus warned people about the need to go beyond religious externals & love God truly from their heart, and to be ready for the judgment when they would see the perfect God face-to-face.  And as with Jeremiah, many of the people turned away (specifically the Pharisees).  Jesus shed tears over Jerusalem, but His tears were virtually ignored.
  5. One of the prophets”:  This is a bit broader than the other choices.  There was a group of prophets mentioned in the OT history books, some which were named (Nathan with David) & others who remained unnamed.  We don’t know everything they did, but many times they served as advisors to the kings.  When a king wanted to know whether or not to go into battle, many times they would call for one of the prophets.  Or the prophets would bring a word of correction or rebuke from the Lord to the king.  In Jesus’ case, He was known by the people to confront to ruling class of the Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees.  The people saw in Jesus a call to national reform, so they lumped Him in with the other group of prophets.  They saw Him as a man with authority, but no more important than anyone else who came before.  Of course, Jesus did call for reform, and those things were important, but it wasn’t all Jesus did.
  6. In reality, Jesus did all of these things & more.  He was bigger than anyone who had come in the past.  His role was infinitely larger and more important.  The people picked up on parts of Jesus’ role, but they missed the big picture. … This still happens today.  People like to pick & choose with Jesus.  They emphasize the parts of Jesus’ teaching and works that they like, but completely ignore others.  Some people love the times that Jesus taught about reform & loving the outcast, but they turn a blind eye to Jesus’ repeated calls for personal repentance & His condemnation of sin.  Some people love the miracles & the challenges to walk in faith, but they ignore Jesus’ call to humility and submission to the will of God.  Some people love the promises of Jesus to forgive, but they are unwilling to hear what Jesus has to say about us forgiving others.  And so on.  It doesn’t work that way!  Jesus’ isn’t a buffet line where we can pick & choose what we like about Him & what we don’t.  We have to look at Jesus as a whole – and that’s what Jesus is going to give Peter an opportunity to do.

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

  1. The question becomes personal.  Obviously as we minister to our culture, we need to understand what others think about Jesus in order for us to communicate with them.  But at the end of the day, when it comes to our own relationship with God, it doesn’t matter a hill of beans what your friend believes about Jesus, but what you believe.  If you don’t understand who Jesus is, then you’re not really going to understand anything else about Him.  If you don’t know Jesus’ true identity, then it doesn’t matter how much Scripture you’ve memorized, how much theology you can recite, how much compassion you’ve shown, how much money you’ve given, or anything else.  If you’ve personally missed who Jesus is, then you’re missing everything.
  2. Don’t leave today without asking and answering this question for yourself!  When Jesus originally asked this question, He posed it to all of the disciples (though only Peter answered).  On the authority of Scripture, you can consider Jesus asking this same question of you.  Who do YOU say Jesus is?  Don’t wait another day – get this resolved today!

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

  1. People spend so much time giggling at Peter’s expense.  Yes, he fell into the water when he had a lapse of faith.  Yes, he was the definition of impetuous, and did all sorts of things that we might find ourselves doing.  Yet this is one time we cannot poke fun at Peter, but rather show the respect due to one of Jesus’ apostles.  What a glorious confession of faith!  Bold Peter – impetuous Peter – believing Peter.  There’s no doubt what Peter thought of Jesus.  Jesus was more than all of those partial ideas held by the people.  Jesus called for repentance, did miracles, gave doctrine, and called for reform – He did all of these things & more, as Peter was witness.  Peter saw the whole picture: Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
  2. the Christ”: Not just “Christ,” but “the Christ.”  This isn’t Jesus’ name; it’s His title.  “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah,” and means “Anointed One.”  This is the direct fulfillment of the covenant God made with David when God said that He would build David a house that would last forever, and that David’s son would be called God’s Son, and He would reign forever and ever.  For Peter to recognize Jesus as the Christ is Peter to recognize Jesus as his King – the rightful King over all of the universe, and the specific covenant King over all Israel.  The expected Christ was not only the promise to David, but was also the promise to Moses (that there would be another Prophet like him who would speak the words of God), and the promise to Abraham (that in him, all of the world would be blessed).  The Christ was the One on whom all the promises of God rested – the great expectation of Israel & all of the world.  And that’s exactly who Jesus is.  Jesus is the Christ.  In Him, all of the promises of God are yes & amen (2 Cor 1:20).
  3. Son of…God”: Jesus isn’t just the son of David, He is the Son of God – and Peter explicitly says so here.  There is none who has power like Jesus.  There is none who has authority like Jesus.  Jesus truly is the Son of God.  Note: this is a direct statement of Jesus’ deity.  Peter understood exactly what he was saying.  To call Jesus the Son of God is to call Jesus God in the flesh.  A son of a landowner or king had all of the authority of the landowner or king invested in him.  To attack the son was to attack the father.  To bless the son was to bless the father.  When the Bible calls Jesus the Son of God, it’s not saying that Jesus is somehow “less” than God; it’s saying He IS God.  Jesus can only be the Son of God by being God the Son, fully God in every respect.  Just as your children bear your name, so does Jesus bear the name of His Father.  To be sure, there is mystery in how this all works within the Trinity, but the language the Bible uses is very careful.  It does not confuse Jesus as being the Father, but it explicitly affirms that Jesus is indeed God.  That’s what Peter confesses here.
  4. Son of the Living God”: I so love that Peter phrased it this way (with the help of God)!  This isn’t the God of the past – this isn’t the mythological gods of the Greeks or Romans – this isn’t the false ideas of God proclaimed by the Sadducees, etc.  This is the LIVING God!  Not the blind watchmaker who wound up the universe & sits back passively to observe, but the God who lives and is active among all of His creation.  God personally interacted in history by sending His Son in to the world to save mankind.  From the Garden of Eden, man had been doomed to death, but God did not stay on the sidelines; God was involved from the very beginning with a plan to save us.  The Living God personally paid the price for our sin so that we could live forever with Him, to His glory.
  5. What Peter confessed is the same realization to which we must all come!  Do you know and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

  1. Just as Peter recognized Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus lovingly in turn recognizes Peter as Simon, son of Jonah.  This isn’t a statement of doctrine so much as it is a friendly turn of phrase & preparation to affirm Peter’s new name.
  2. What is doctrine is how Peter came to this conclusion.  What Jesus declares to Peter here is the same principle that He taught earlier in Ch 11.  Matthew 11:25–27, "(25) At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. (26) Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. (27) All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." []  This is the center of much debate within the Church!  Without getting into the various arguments of Calvinism & Arminianism, we can admit this much: conversion is a spiritual act.  There’s much that is mystery here, and no theological system can ever fully proclaim what is in the mind of God when we look at His infinite wisdom, but at the very least we know that God is foundationally involved in our conversion.  God draws people to Christ, and reveals the gospel truth to them.  That’s what Jesus had taught to others, and that’s what He proclaimed regarding Peter.  It wasn’t that Peter convinced himself of Jesus’ identity, or that he intellectually worked out some sort of theological mystery, or that someone else convinced him of the truth.  God the Father revealed the truth of Jesus to Peter, and Peter believed.
    1. How important it is for us to understand the work of God in our salvation & conversion.  No one can come to faith in Christ unless God reveals the truth to them.  (What the individual does with that truth is the crux of the debate!)  This gives us even more reason to pray for people in the work of evangelism.  No one is going to be debated into the kingdom, or otherwise talked into it.  Sometimes we treat the gospel as a sales-pitch, and that might work for an emotional reaction, but it will never bring someone to true saving faith.  We need to pray!
  3. Because Peter has said this, Jesus proclaimed him blessed.  Question: what exactly is different about this occurrence?  The disciples had stated their belief in Jesus at other times, even calling Him the Son of God after Jesus walked on water (Mt 14:33).  Why is Peter’s confession so important here?  This time, it wasn’t in response to a miracle.  It wasn’t an emotional reaction to something Jesus said or did.  Peter was obviously supernaturally guided by God, but this involved more than Peter’s heart – it involved Peter’s heart, mind, soul, and strength.  No longer was his faith based on the circumstances around him, but it was based on the conviction of who his Savior was in front of him. …

18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

  1. He WAS Simon son of Jonah, NOW he is Peter.  Jesus had given Peter this name much earlier in their time together – in fact, John’s gospel records it at their first meeting as He gives Peter the Aramaic version of the name, Cephas (Jn 1:42).
  2. Although it’s not evident in English, “Peter/rock” would have been an obvious play on words to those who were listening.  This one statement has been the cause for much debate – pages and pages of ink have been published on the subject.  In Greek, the words are related, but different.  Peter = Πέτρος, meaning a stone/boulder.  Rock = πέτρᾳ, referring to a large mass of rock, such as bedrock.  Remember the rocky face that the group was standing in front of in Caesarea Philippi…it’s easy to visualize Jesus looking & Simon calling him Petros, while gesturing to the massive outcropping as Petra, the foundation building block for the Church.  Many believe this is a crucial distinction, featuring a play on words, with Jesus showing that Peter himself isn’t the bedrock of the Church, but that the foundation is something different.  Some scholars have criticized this, saying that since Jesus likely spoke Aramaic on a regular basis, Jesus wouldn’t have made this distinction, as the word for Peter & rock are the same in Aramaic.  The problem with that argument is that is neglects the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit did not inspire Matthew to be written in Aramaic (or in Hebrew, as some might claim); He inspired it to be written in Greek.  Thus these words were specifically chosen by God.  Of course, Jesus DID know Greek, as did the disciples, and there’s no real way to determine what language Jesus was speaking that day (or on any other day, for that matter, apart from when Scripture specifically tells us).
  3. So what did Jesus mean when He said He would build His Church upon the rock?  Certainly Peter is involved, but the rock is greater than Peter – it’s the confession of faith that Peter first expressed.  The Church is built one person at a time, but it’s not built upon one single individual.  All of the apostles (including Peter) were laid by Christ as the foundation for the Church that the rest of us are built upon.  We’re built upon the confession of faith and doctrine that was passed along to us through the centuries by the apostles.  And of course, all of that comes down to the singular statement expressed by Peter that day: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. …
    1. Peter gets a lot of attention here because certain parts of Christianity elevated him to a position that Jesus never gave.  Jesus certainly said some special things about Peter in this passage, but Jesus did not set up the pope.  Historically, God used Peter in wonderful ways, and Peter certainly had a special place in the early church – but it’s plain that he was not viewed as the primary apostle.  Peter was one of several opinions at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15, and he didn’t even preside over the meeting.  He was directly confronted by Paul regarding sinful hypocrisy, and ended up admitting his error.  Even in his letters to the church, Peter referred to himself as a “fellow elder,” not setting himself up to be anyone above the rest.  He made no claim of being a pope, and there is no historical record of him setting up a successor after himself to take his place among the apostles.  (In fact, the only successor to any of the apostles was Matthias, in following the place vacated by Judas Iscariot.)
  4. With all that said about Peter, what did Jesus say He was going to do?  “I will build My church.”  Just as God the Father was personally involved by sending Jesus into the world, Jesus is personally involved in building the Church.  The Church is not built by programs – not by worship bands – not by events – not by dynamic speakers – not by any of the things we would normally place our strategies into to try to build an organization.  Jesus is certainly organized (He is an orderly God), but He did not come to build an organization; Jesus builds the Church.  The Church is the body of Christ – the Church is the bride of Christ.  The Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the ambassador of Christ into all the world.  Jesus loves the Church, and does not leave its construction to chance – He builds it.
    1. Why are you in the Church?  Because Jesus saved you.  Jesus personally saved YOU and brought you into the building of His Church.  If that doesn’t help you understand your value to God, nothing much will.
  5. One thing we know about the Church is that it will be victorious. “The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”  The first thing we need to understand here is that the reference is to Hades; not the lake of fire in Hell.  Today, we hear the word “hell” and think of the lake of fire – that wasn’t always the case, and it certainly wasn’t what Jesus meant.  The word in Greek is “Hades” and it referred to the general abode of the dead.  The Hebrew equivalent was Sheol, which simply meant the grave.  So as Jesus refers to the gates of Hades, He’s not talking about all the demonic powers of Hell gathering together to battle the Church.  (Demons in hell aren’t in charge; they’re prisoners!)  He’s not even really talking about a battle because gates don’t fight.  To be sure, the gates of a city were seen as a place of business, but when cities fought against one another, the reference is always to the army; not to the gates.  Gates don’t fight – they open or close.  If a set of gates were to prevail against an army, it’s to say that they would remain shut against people who wanted them open.  If the gates of the place of the dead won’t prevail, what is Jesus talking about?  The resurrection.  Jesus would not be left in Sheol, but He was raised from the dead three days later.  Even the Church isn’t left in the grave – we all look forward to a physical raising, either in resurrection or rapture.  As Paul would later quote, “O Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Cor 15:55)  Hades has no victory because Jesus has given the victory to the Church.  His Church has the promise of being raised from the dead & the inheritance of everlasting life with God the Father!

19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

  1. What are the “keys of the kingdom”?  Whatever they are, they are NOT the keys to the pearly gates, where Peter stands guard & gives admittance to folks in heaven (per all of the jokes).  Obviously these are not physical keys, nor are they a symbol of the papacy as the head of the church.  Contextually, Jesus had just spoken about the “gates of Hades,” now Jesus is speaking of keys to another gate/set of doors – that of the kingdom of heaven.  If the gates of death could not prevail against the Church, then what would open the gates of heaven?  The gospel.  The confession of faith that Peter had is the same confession of faith that opens up the blessings of eternity to the rest of the world.
  2. What does Jesus mean by binding & loosing?  The first thing we need to understand is that this idea is not exclusive to Peter.  To be sure, Jesus first says it to Peter here, but later He says the same thing to all of the disciples.  [Referring to church discipline & personal confrontations] Matthew 18:18, "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." []  So the question isn’t really what this means to Peter, but what this means to all of us.  The terms of binding/loosing were commonly used in reference to doctrine – specifically that of the Pharisees.  Certain ideas would be “loosed” among the people, others would be bound up in discipline.  Jesus even confronted them on this idea in that they bound up the people so badly that they shut up the kingdom of heaven entirely, not going in themselves, nor allowing others to go in (Mt 23:13).  The idea may be a bit broader than doctrine though, as the whole contextual picture is one of authority.  Someone who has keys has the authority to do something – in this case, binding and loosing.  The grammar actually gives us a bit more of an idea, but it’s tough to see in most English translations.  HCSB, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.”  The authority we have as believers is not to make something happen in heaven, but to implement that which has already happened in heaven here upon the earth.  God does the work, and He uses the Church as the instrument.  In Peter’s life, God used him to bind & loose as Peter preached the gospel.  God used Peter to preach the first evangelistic crusade in history (Pentecost), and to confirm that the gospel was going to the Gentiles (Cornelius the centurion).  Along with the other apostles, God used Peter to help lay the foundation of church doctrine.  What does this mean for us?
    1. It means we’ve been authorized and empowered by God to take the gospel to the world. (Mt 28:19-20)
    2. That we are free to extend forgiveness to others just as God has forgiven us in Christ. (Jn 20:23)
    3. That we can go with the authority of God into the world and act as ambassadors of Christ in compassion and word. (2 Cor 5:20)
    4. What a privilege to be used by God!  Surely God could do these things far more efficiently without us, but He chooses to do so!

20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

  1. Why stay silent?  This grand profession of faith, one which Peter was blessed for having it revealed to him – and yet, they aren’t to tell anyone.  Not yet, at least.  All things needed to be done in the timing of God.  The people were ready to take Jesus as a political king (in their limited view of the Messiah/Christ); they weren’t ready to receive Jesus as the true Messiah in the fullest sense, the Son of the Living God.  For that, Jesus still needed to go to the cross, and rise again from the grave.  Then He would give the freedom (and the command) to go tell all the world.

Who is Jesus?  Who do you say that He is?  Perhaps you’re one that has tried to pick & choose.  That’s not an option given to us.  We can certainly choose only to look at certain parts of Jesus, but not if we want to see Him rightly.  To only see a portion of Jesus is to miss Him.  Ultimately, we need to come to the same place as Peter, where we see Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

If you can’t say that about yourself today, you need to spend time before God the Father in prayer.  God has revealed the truth to you today through the Scripture – knowledge is not the issue; faith is.  Go before God in prayer, and place your faith in Jesus.  He is the King – He is the answer to every promise of God – He is the Savior of the world – He is God in the flesh.  Humble yourself before the Living God in prayer, asking Him to reveal Jesus Christ to your heart, and He will.  Those who seek find, and to those who knock the door will be opened.  God will do the work, but you are the one who must respond to Him in faith.

If you are already part of the Church, then think upon today Whom it is you serve.  You serve the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  You have been called by Him & made a part of the Church that He has built.  You are a part of the eternal plan of God, worked out by the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is a glorious God!  He is a glorious Savior!  We cannot add to the work of Jesus in Church, but we can participate in it.  He builds the Church, and He uses us to do it.  Have you surrendered yourself to be an instrument in the hands of God?  Have you used the keys of the gospel to open the doors of heaven to someone else?  What a privilege and responsibility we have!  May we use it to the fullest extents through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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