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4: Who Do You Say He Is?

Crossroads Connection / Pastor Andy George
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2023 2:00 pm

4: Who Do You Say He Is?

Crossroads Connection / Pastor Andy George

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All right, let's jump into the message this morning.

The title is, Who Do You Say He Is? And we're gonna be in Matthew chapter 16 verse 13 to 17. This is a very, very intriguing, fascinating passage scripture that I'm sure that you've read maybe multiple times. In fact, right now you're in a Bible reading plan with us with the Old Testament and New Testament. You'll be hitting this chapter and verse as well as in Exodus this week.

And so we want to unpack this. In light of, lordship of Christ is the beginning of not only discipleship, but it is the beginning of our journey with Him as our Lord and our Savior. And there's two main questions that Jesus asked His disciples that I believe that you and I have to answer as well today. So we're gonna start reading in verse 13. It'll be on the screen if you don't have your Bibles.

Here we go. 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.

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. Let me put some fascinating context around where Jesus is and why He's asking this. First of all, this is the only time the Bible records Jesus and the disciples going to Caesarea Philippi. Which means you got to ask yourself the question, why this one occasion that Jesus take His disciples? It's a 30 mile, 14 hour walk from where Jesus typically did His ministry.

So think about that, walking 30 miles for a teaching lesson is basically what's happening. Jesus takes His disciples, they walk the 30 miles, 14 hours, they walk and they go to this place so that Jesus can teach them something very, very special one time in this particular area. Now Caesarea Philippi is located in the northern part of Israel. This ancient city was built, it was built against a massive rock formation that had a cave.

So just picture the city, this big rock formation, this cave, and then there's a stream that flowed out of it that filtered down through the Jordan Valley that gave life to things around it. But what's fascinating is that Caesarea Philippi was also a city filled with pagan idols. Former Baal worship was happening here and there's one very interesting false god, a Greek god named Pan that was worshiped at this place. Now don't get it confused with Peter Pan and ruin all the kids' stories.

Although there is a little parallel that some people actually believe, the story of Peter Pan is a non-twisted view of the actual Pan. Pan is a Greek god, the original name of Caesarea Philippi was Panaeus. And Panaeus, they built a temple to worship the Greek god Pan. The Greek god Pan, according to the legend of the Greek mythology, was the only or one of the only gods that could actually go between Hades and Earth. So he could access Hades, he could access Earth, and they believe that at the mouth of that cave on that rock was the entry point to where Hades was.

So now I'll just put this all together. Like I said, I think there's some merit to here, this narrative that during the disciples' time that people would go there and really believe that there was this god Pan who would access Hades and Earth and enter at this place. Now watch, what did Jesus ask the disciples at that place? At the very place where the backdrop was pagan idol worship, he asked his disciples, who do people say the son of man is? Then he asked the then he asked them more importantly, well, what about you?

Who do you think I am? Peter's response is not by accident. We know that God says that Jesus says that God the Father gave him this answer, but he says that you are the Christ, you are the son of the living God. And he's saying that in light of all these other false gods that are surrounding that entire area.

Then it goes a step further. If we keep reading in Matthew 16, there's two more verses that speak to the weight of this where Jesus then responds that on this rock I will build my church. Literally standing more than likely on the rock where this god Pan could access hell and earth that on this rock I'll build my church. And what does Jesus say next? And the gates of what? The gates of Hades will not prevail.

So Jesus takes them 30 miles away to get a teaching point that says that my church, my name, who I am, is greater than any other false god that there is. But you have to answer these two questions. Who do people think I am?

And who do you think I am? See, that's the beginning. Those answers are the beginning not only of discipleship, but those questions help us answer the beginning of the lordship of Christ in our own life. The son of man is an interesting statement. So just a quick Bible history. Jesus spoke in Aramaic. He didn't speak Greek. So Jesus spoke in Aramaic. Aramaic then was written down and translated to Greek and your New Testament is a transliteration of the Greek language that was translated from Aramaic.

So you're following the little trend here. That term the son of man has given commentaries some confusion over the years because in the traditional sense in Greek the son of man literally means that you are a son of a human being. And so when Jesus is asking the question who do people say that the son of man is, in one sense he is actually referring to himself physically in the flesh as a human.

However, in Aramaic it has a different tense on it, a different point on that, that Jesus is actually asking them two questions with one. When he says who do people say that the son of man is, what he was actually asking them was two things. One, who do people think Jesus is? Just me, the person standing here flesh and blood. But he's also asking them who do people think that the Messiah son of man is?

The divinity side, the messianic side of who I am. So he's asking the disciples, he's trying to get a picture of who do people think that I am, just Jesus, just the son of, because that's an easy answer. He's the son of Mary and Joseph is what people would say. He was born in Nazareth in Bethlehem area. That's who he is.

Nothing good comes from there. He's just a guy. That's one side over the other side is that he's got this divine quality, this divine side.

So he's, he's actually asking those questions. Who do people say that I am now? The response is also interesting because the disciples give him three answers. The first one was John the Baptist. Then it was Elijah.

And then it was Jeremiah. Why did they pick those three things? Well, I think to some degree, it's the context of where they are. Just like if someone would ask you today, or you ask somebody here today, or somebody in your neighborhood, well, who's, who is Jesus to you? It's a great question that everybody's got to answer at some point in their life. The disciples said, well, some people think you're John the Baptist.

Well, why is that? Well, because your message is the same. The message of John the Baptist was repent for the kingdom of God is near. Jesus's very first message coming out of the wilderness was repent for the kingdom of God is on hand.

So there's a message of repentance. There's a message of the kingdom that Jesus echoed the same as John the Baptist. Elijah. Well, who is Elijah? Elijah is one of the most powerful miracle working prophets of the old Testament. And so Jesus performs miracles. Elijah, by the way, is one of only two people in scripture, Elijah and Enoch that never died a physical death on earth.

They were taken straight to heaven. In fact, in the scripture, most people would say that the two prophets who returned in the book of revelation, one of them is Elijah. And so certainly people at the time probably thought, well, this is Elijah back in life because of the miracles that you're doing. But then they say Jeremiah, Jeremiah was the weeping prophet. It's not that Jesus was a weeping prophet, but the message that Jesus was sharing is the same as Jeremiah.

Jeremiah was typically animally opposed to the religious organization of the time. Jesus spoke out greatly against the Pharisees and the Sadducees. So you got these different things and the people of the time would have probably acknowledged, well, that's who Jesus is. But let me ask you in our context today, who do people think Jesus is?

When you look at the world around us, I think we can answer some of that. I think we can answer that some people think he was just a good person. We got some people to think that he was indeed a historical figure. Some people think that he is God's son. You got other religions that think that him and Satan were brothers. You got other religions that think he was just one of many prophets. You got some people that think he didn't exist whatsoever. In fact, there was an article that just came out that tries to paint the picture that the Romans created Jesus in order for their own gain at some point. So you have all this historical stuff mixed in together, all trying to figure out who Jesus is.

Some people think he's a judge and a killjoy that he's out just to ruin our fun. But let's take it a next level. The reality is this. The reality is that everybody is searching for something.

We could probably agree to that. Everybody in this room, everybody who's ever been born, seeks out purpose in life. We all do. We all are looking for significance.

I want to make a difference in this world. We're looking for love. We were made for relationships.

We were made for love. We're all looking for that person or that special somebody or just something and someone to love. We're looking for real life.

Just what is life actually look like? And we all know that people are searching for answers everywhere. And so all of these things that people are searching for, the reality is that Jesus is all of those things. And so as Jesus is throwing a big question going, hey, who, who do people think that I am?

I think we need to answer that question in your context, where you work, where you go to school, what are people searching for? Who do people think that God is? Who do people think that Jesus is? Is it just that we know of him?

We've heard about him, but also on top of that, we're all looking for all these different things. But then Jesus takes it to a more intimate question. He takes it from the broad, which we notice that in scripture. We often see that God takes things from a, from a big macro level and it keeps going narrower and narrower and narrower until it goes down to reality of an intimate question. And the question is this, doesn't matter, Mark, whatever else thinks.

What do you think? Who's Jesus to you? You can almost see Jesus looking at his disciples, eyeball to eyeball asking that question. It's one thing to know just what people think, but what about you?

And so let me ask us that question. Who is Jesus to you? Is he just the son of God that you've heard about in church?

Is it somebody that you read about? Is there some intimate connection that you have with the son of God? What has he done in your life? You think of it in that context, not only of who he is, but what has he actually done for some people in this room? He is your great comforter.

That's how you know him. Jesus is your comforter. Others of you in this room, he is your savior. He is your Lord. He is that he is your everything. You got people that he is your provider.

You've seen him work that in your life. Some people he's your healer, savior to those who need peace. He is the Prince of Peace. You see, when we take it to an intimate setting, we understand who Jesus is globally in scripture. God's son, part of the Trinity. He is the word. The word was flesh.

We can rattle those verses on and on and on. But just what about you today? Who is he right now in your heart and in your life? And I wonder if we would answer similar to Simon Peter. Simon's Peter response was you are the Christ. You are the son of the living God. So I love that answer.

Because that answer gives two indications. The first indication is that that is just the reality of who Jesus is and was. You are the son of God. You are the Christ. But it's also what Peter needed. Peter also needed him to be Lord and savior and the son of God.

So I think there's something wonderful at play here in this passage that is so critical for each one of us, no matter where you are in your journey with him. Because the reality of who Jesus is, is also who I need Jesus to be. Of who Jesus is when we answer the big question, who are you? Who do people say that I am? But what about you?

I also need that in my own life. It's not only who Jesus is, it's who we need. See Jesus, Peter answers Jesus the Christ. It's the word Christos there. The word Christos there literally translates to Messiah. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for that is the anointed one is for kings. So Peter's acknowledging that you are the Messiah. You are the king of kings. You're the Lord of Lords.

You are the anointed king of Israel and the whole world. And so Peter has this amazing revelation of who Jesus is. And Jesus's response is a very interesting response. Did you notice he didn't call him Peter? He called him Simon Barjona. Well, why in the world would Jesus call Peter or Simon Peter? Why would he call him Simon Barjona? It wasn't derogatory.

It wasn't meant to demean him. Simon Barjona would have been a reference to Peter's dad's name. And this is what Jesus was saying. How wonderful it is that a mere mortal man came to this answer. What Jesus was doing was acknowledging that Peter was just a guy. He was just a guy born of a guy named Simon Barjona.

And he's just a man. Yet this mortal man had a revelation of who I am. See, what I love about that is that means that you and I have that same opportunity. That there's something beautiful. The Bible calls it the mysteries of Christ. That the mysteries will be made known. What are the mysteries?

It's not real mysterious, is it? That Jesus came and he died on the cross for us. But there's something that happens spiritually. We allow God in his spirit to reveal who Christ is to us, in us, and through us.

Simon Peter had this amazing revelation standing on this rock in formerly Paneus. We can imagine all these things that play revelation of who Jesus was at that moment. You are the Christ. You are the son of the living God.

Not only do I need you to be the Christ, the son of the living God, but that's who you are. And just a person, non-divine person, had this opportunity to realize that. So I want to talk about the two answers that are given here. That are, if you think of a coin, it's the same coin with two sides that are so critical. And there's such a minor difference between the two, yet so important. The first one is this, is that Jesus is the savior of the world.

Let's just talk about that for a moment. The reality of who Christ is, is that he's the savior of the world. And what I mean by that is that, quite honestly, it doesn't matter what you believe. It doesn't mean it doesn't matter if you agree with it. It doesn't matter if you believe it.

It doesn't matter if anybody actually understands it or recognizes it. It does not change the fact that Jesus actually came to be the savior of the entire world. In 1 John chapter 4, verse 14, it says, and we have seen and testified that the father has sent his son to be the savior of the world. This is a global sense. This is a broad net that's being thrown out that says that Jesus came for the sins of all humanity, of everybody.

There's no respect for a person. It's just anybody who will ever come to him, that Jesus came to die on a cross for them. In Acts chapter 4, verse 12, it starts to bring it more narrow where it says that salvation is found in no one else, for there's no other name under heaven given by which we must be saved. Again, he is the savior of the world. There's only one way to heaven. There's only one name that gets us there, and that name is Jesus. And so he's the savior. He came and did something on the cross, as we said during communion, that nobody could do. He came and died for all sins of all humanity. 1 Timothy chapter 1, verse 15, it says that this is a trustworthy statement, full deserving of acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world for one purpose. He had one purpose, to save sinners.

That was his purpose. To save anybody who would come at any time and ask for forgiveness, he would forgive them. This is the savior of the world. Again, it doesn't matter if you think that's true or not. Doesn't matter if people in the world think that's true. Does not change the fact that he came and is the savior, and there's only one way, period.

The other side of the coin, though, is where I want to end this morning. The real question is, is he the Lord of your life? Those are two different questions.

They really are. To acknowledge him as savior of the world is the beginning. It's the beginning of the revelation. It's the beginning of the understanding.

It's the beginning of the understanding, but every single person then has to answer the next question. But are you the Lord of my actual life? Are you the Lord of my everyday life, every part of my life?

Have I submitted it to you? In Galatians chapter 2, verse 20, it's a wonderful picture of what it looks like when we talk about the lordship of Christ in our life. It says, I have been crucified with Christ.

Just think about these words. I've been crucified with Christ. It's no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. This is Jesus as Lord. This is what happens when you and I take the savior of the world and take it to a personal level that says, now I want you to be the Lord of my everyday life. That means that I, my sins, have been crucified to the cross, and it's not me who lives anymore. It is Jesus in me who lives.

The problem with this and the question with this is, is he Lord of every area of your life? In fact, there's a graphic I want to show you up on the screen, and we'll leave it up here for a while. You'll see this if you're following along in the sessions and the training. This is one of the wheels. This is what's called the wheel of life, and this is just an example. And on one side over here, you'll see I just put up several just examples. So I would encourage all of you to do this.

In fact, if you got notes now, you can do this. Just draw a circle and a pie chart inside that circle and put down all the key all the key areas of your life, the main areas of your life. What are the areas that you would say, this is my life right here?

So here's just an example. You might have more or less, but it's my friends. That's important. My hobbies, my church, my health, my growth, whether that's leadership growth or personal growth, my finances, my family, and my job.

Those are kind of the main areas of my life. Do you notice the difference though between that first wheel of life and the second one? It's a subtle difference. Let's not overplay this. It's real simple.

What's the difference between the first one and the second one? Yeah, it's not a trick question. I'm not trying to trick you. It's literally on the screen. Christ is at the center. How many of those areas is Christ touching in the second graphic?

Again, not a trick question. All areas. Everybody say all. Say it again.

Say all. That is Jesus as Lord of your life. He should be touching every single aspect of your life.

Every aspect. But what happens, and I know this to be true because I see it in my own life and I've seen it over 28 years of ministry. The areas that are really easy to give to Jesus, we give to him really quickly. The areas that we are selfish in or want control in, we keep those areas for ourselves. So most people, your life does not look like that second wheel.

It's partial. It's like Jesus is the center of certain ones of those areas, but not the whole. And the question that you and I have to wrestle with and only you can answer. Now we could tell sometimes from the outward actions, but right now just be honest with yourself. If you were to write out all the key areas of your life, is Jesus Lord over all those areas or aren't he? It's not a hard question to answer.

And I bet you what's going to happen is you'll find a few areas that he's not. Doesn't mean you're a bad person. It might not even be intentional, but see that's the difference. The lordship of Christ and discipleship is intentional.

It's not accidental. We are intentionally putting Jesus at the center of who we are. And if he's not at the center of every area, then we have to follow up and say, well, why not?

Why isn't he? Why is Jesus not the center of my finances? Why is he not the center of my job or my hobby?

Why is he not the center of my relationships? And again, you can kind of walk through it and you can put up all sorts, your attitude, your attitude, how you talk, how you act, all these different areas of our life need to revolve around Christ. And if they don't revolve around Christ, they're going to revolve around you or they're going to revolve around your job or they're going to revolve around somebody else. And when that happens, that's where the imbalance starts to happen. That is not being balanced.

And if we're not balanced, we're not mobilized. So it all hinges on you and I answering the question, who is Christ to you? If Jesus were to sit across from you right now and just looked at you in your eyes and asked you the question, who do you say that I am? Every one of us probably has the Sunday school answer in pocket.

It's the Peter answer. Oh, you're the son of God. You're the savior of the world.

Yes. But more so, what about you? In your heart is the Lord of every area of your life. So the beginning of all of this starts in Romans chapter 10, Romans chapter 10, verse nine to 10 gives us the very beginning of the Lordship of Christ in our life. It says, because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

That puts the savior and Lord together in one verse that if you and I believe in the savior of the world and we confess our sins to him, what happens that this savior of the world becomes the Lord of my life. Then the rest of my life, just like the rest of you who already made that decision, there's a word called sanctification, which is like every day just becoming more and more like Jesus for the rest of our life here on this earth, which means that every day there's a verse that says this, every day you have to pick up your cross and follow Jesus daily. Why does it say that every day? Why can't it be I can pick up my cross on Sunday and then renew next Sunday? It says daily to pick up your cross.

Why? Well, because every day I have to make the decision to allow Jesus to be Lord of every area of my life, every single day. And what happens that we go kind of long and we go a little bit between those times and all of a sudden things start creeping in and then either the world or ourself or other things kind of start to take the spot that only Jesus wants in the center of our life. So this morning, I hope in some way, maybe this is a reminder. Maybe it's a challenge.

Maybe it's a call to the great commission that if we're going to take this serious, if we are really going to see an impact in our world, if you and I really want to see transformation happen in our communities and our neighborhoods and our schools, you and I have to answer that question every day, Jesus, who are you in my life today? And if there's areas where he's not, we have to take that opportunity and figure out why not? What have I replaced before you? What have I put in the way? What have I allowed to take center stage in my life? What are the areas that I'm just being selfish in that I want to control because I don't trust you enough? And then how do we get there? How do we navigate that?
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 17:15:11 / 2023-01-25 17:25:43 / 11

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