Who Do You Say That I Am?
Scripture reading for October 10th: Matthew 16-19
The Pharisees and Sadducees are two groups of religious people that were often in conflict with Jesus. They often came to Jesus to test Him and to try to make themselves look good by discrediting Him. (Matthew 16:1-4) One day, they came asking Jesus for a sign from heaven to confirm that He was Messiah. Jesus had just fed the 5000 with the loaves and fishes and had been doing many other miracles. (Matthew 14:16-21) He had offended the Pharisees earlier by warning the people about the hypocrisy of those religious leaders. He called them blind guides that if someone would follow them, they would both fall into a pit! (Matthew 15:12-14) Now they were testing Him again!
Jesus’ response was to rebuke them and leave them quickly. He told them that a wicked and adulterous generation would seek a sign. They would only be given the sign of Jonah, the prophet. He then warned his followers to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees. They didn’t understand. Jesus explained that the yeast was their teaching that would lead them and others away from the truth He was sharing.
They then traveled to Caesarea Philippi, an area at the mouth of the Jordan River at the foot of Mount Herman. There Jesus asked His disciples two key questions. Jesus asked them, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13) They told him various answers that were common among the people of that day. Jesus then asked them the most important question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15) Simon Peter immediately answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Jesus commended him for his answer. He had come to the right conclusion, but not by man’s opinion or his own reasoning and mental ability. The Father had revealed this truth to him!
How have you answered Jesus’ question? What conclusion have you come to regarding the identity of Jesus Christ? Is He someone who must show you one more “sign” before you will believe? Are you skeptical that He is the Son of God? Do you just feel that He is a prophet sent from God or someone famous who has come back from the dead? Do people’s opinions shape your thoughts on Jesus Christ? All of these responses were present when Jesus walked the earth and was doing miraculous signs. Human reasoning and visual proof are well and good, but truth comes by revelation from God the Father. Revelation comes when we are humble and teachable enough to believe. Faith is the key ingredient, and that is a gift from God! (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus concluded his remarks to Peter and the disciples after this discussion with a promise to build His church on ‘this rock’ and told them that the gates of hell would not prevail against that church. The “rock” was Peter’s confession of who Christ was, not Peter himself. Jesus is still building His church on that rock! It is a secure foundation for eternal life!