Now when JESUS came into the district of Caesarea Philippi
HE was asking HIS disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
HE said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “YOU are The CHRIST, The SON of the living GOD.”
And JESUS said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona
Because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you
But MY FATHER WHO is in heaven
As I meditated upon Matthew 16:13-17, my Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST gave me a better understanding of this teaching moment between HIMSELF and HIS disciples; and how it applies to us HIS followers today.
Our Beloved JESUS CHRIST asked HIS disciples “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They gave HIM the following answers for the following reasons:
1) Some say John the Baptist. Herod the tetrarch declared JESUS CHRIST to be the resurrected John the Baptist whom he had beheaded, when he heard the miracles that were being performed by HIM (Mat 14:1-2, Mrk 6:12-16).
2) Others, Elijah. Those who felt they knew The WORD of GOD believed JESUS to be Elijah because through miracles Elijah also brought a message of repentance (1 Kin 18:21-39). So they thought JESUS message of repentance (Mrk 1:14-15, Luk 13:1-5), was the returned Elijah to turn the hearts of the people back to GOD (Mal 4:5-6).
3) But still others, Jeremiah. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet whose heart was broken over Judah’s sin, and its prideful refusal to listen to warnings from GOD concerning its coming destruction (Jer 13:17-19). Those who saw JESUS mourn over Jerusalem and her coming destruction (Mat 23:37-39, Luk 19:41-44), thought HE must be Jeremiah risen from the dead.
4) Or one of the prophets. Many witnessed our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST strong warnings to those who continued in unrepentant behavior (continuing to willfully sin despite warnings) and believed HIM to be one of the risen prophets GOD sent to Israel and Judah to warn them of the consequences of their sinful lives (Luk 9:19, Jer 7:25-28).
Why did JESUS want to know what men thought about HIM? HE didn’t want to know, HE already knew, HE knows everything (Jhn 21:17, Job 34:21-23, Pro 15:3, Heb 4:13), including our innermost thoughts (Psa 139:4, Mat 9:3-4, Luk 7:39-48). When HE asked HIS disciples “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” HE was employing a question and answer teaching method, to help HIS disciples gain insight by distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves GOD and one who does not serve HIM (Mal 3:18). Those who did not serve or know HIM, made assumptions about WHO HE was, based on hearsay (something one has heard, but does not know to be true) and speculation (forming an opinion or theory without fully researching or investigating). Even today, many religions (Buddhist, Hindu, Jehovah Witness, Judaism, Islam, Mormon, New Age, Scientology, Theosophy, Unitarian…) say that JESUS is a prophet, a wise teacher, a miracle worker, a mere man, or an archangel.
Is that also why JESUS asked the second question “But who do you say that I am?” Yes, the point of distinction was still being made. Divine revelation of HIS true identity, is only given to those who faithfully serve (obey) HIM (Psa 25:14, Mat 11:27, Jhn 15:13-15). This is why JESUS said to Peter in Matthew 16:17: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but MY FATHER WHO is in heaven.”
Why is it important to truly know WHO JESUS is? It is important for at least two crucial reasons:
1) An essential part of salvation is a right confession of WHO JESUS is. Only through GOD’s Holy SPIRIT can we know, that JESUS CHRIST The Nazarene is The:
a. Only begotten SON of The true and living GOD (Jhn 3:16, 1 Jhn 4:9-10, 1 Jhn 5:1), born in Bethlehem, the city of David (Mic 5:2, Luk 2:1-12). To be the only begotten SON means HE is the sole representative of the Being and character of the GOD The FATHER (Heb 1:1-6). JESUS CHRIST is the only person WHO grew inside and was birthed by a human woman whom had never been intimate with any man (Mat 1:23-25, Luk 1:26-36). HE is the one and only GOD from eternity that stepped into humanity through human birth (Isa 9:6, Mat 1:23, Luk 2:6-14, Jhn 1:1, Jhn 1:14, Php 2:5-8).
b. Only SAVIOR (Mat 1:21, Isa 43:11). JESUS CHRIST is the only man born, that never sinned (2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:14-15, 1 Pet 2:21-22, 1 Jhn 3:5); because in HIS human body alone lived all the fullness of the righteous and holy GOD (Col 2:9). Making HIM alone, qualified to save us from our sins (Heb 7:26-27).
c. Only MESSIAH which translated means CHRIST (Jhn 1:41), The ONE anointed and sent by GOD (Luk 2:11, Jhn 4:25-26) to save the world (fallen man) from their sins (Jhn 1:29, 1 Jhn 4:14, Jhn 11:27, Jhn 20:31).
d. Only LORD (Deu 6:4, Mrk 12:29, 1 Cor 8:6). JESUS CHRIST alone as LORD, has all authority in heaven, on earth, and beneath the earth(Mat 28:18, Dan 7:13-14, Php 2:10); HE is KING over all Kings, and LORD over all Lords (Rev 17:14, Deu 10:17, Psa 136:3); HE is MASTER over all creation (Job chptrs 38-40, Luk 8:22-25, Luk 8:32-33, ), and Owner of the redeemed (1 Cor 6:19-20, Act 20:28, 1 Pet 1:18-21, Rev 5:6-9).
If you have prayerfully examined every Scripture in this study, have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to understand; your heart should be making the same declaration Thomas made in John 20:28. It is also why the angel of The LORD made the very specific identification of JESUS to the shepherds on the night of HIS birth; “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, WHO is CHRIST The LORD” (Luke 2:11)
2) Knowing WHO our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST is, will protect us from deception concerning HIMSELF (1 Jhn 5:9-12), by Satan (2 Cor 11:14, 2 Cor 11:3, Rev 12:9), by false prophets and false teachers (2 Cor 11:13-15, Mat 24:23-27, Rev 13:11-15), by the spirit of the antichrist (1 Jhn 2:18-23; 1 Jhn 4:1-3), and by the antichrist the man (Dan 11:31-34, Rev 13:13).
By Chris Tomlin
HE became sin, WHO knew no sin
That we might become HIS righteousness
HE humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing, love so amazing
JESUS Messiah, name above all names
Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, The ransom from Heaven
JESUS Messiah, LORD of all
HIS body the bread, HIS blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled, and the veil was torn
Love so amazing, love so amazing