Who Do We Say He Is?
Patricia L. Dickson
In Matthew 16:13, Jesus ask His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” Jesus asked this question after He had been teaching and healing multitudes of people. There was no question that many of the people that were following Jesus did so because they heard about His power to heal the sick and feed the hungry. Jesus knew that not everyone that was following Him from place to place, were following Him because of His teaching. Nonetheless, it is possible that Jesus was trying to gauge the overall perspective of who people really thought He was.
Jesus took it a step further in verse 15 and asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” By asking His closest disciples, Jesus knew that whomever His disciple said that He is [was] is most important because they would be the ones who would convince the world (through their conduct and speech) who He really is (regardless of how the world may try to define Jesus).
13 Now when Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is?
14 And they answered, Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.
15 He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?
Although it has been over two thousand years since Jesus walk on earth, died on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God the father, the world is still asking the question of who was/is this man called Jesus. Mainstream publications such as Time Magazine has displayed on its cover a depiction of Jesus with the words “Who was Jesus”. It is as though after all these years, no one has been able to define to the world who Jesus really is. If that is truly the case, how can that be with thousands of people in the United States and around the world professing Christianity (followers of Jesus Christ)? The answer to that question lies in the response that Peter gave and what Jesus said in response to Peter’s response.
16 Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 Then Jesus answered him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and [d]to be envied) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven.
When Peter declared that Jesus was indeed the Christ (Messiah –Savior) and the Son of God, he acknowledged that he knew not only who Jesus was, but also Jesus’ true purpose (to save humankind from our sins and reconcile us back to God the father). Jesus’ response to Peter that men did not (cannot) reveal these truths to him, but only God the Father could, reveals the true salvation experience. The Christian lifestyle is entirely spiritual and can only be successful through a genuine relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.
Some people, who claim to be following Jesus today, may be attracted to Jesus because of what they believe He can do for their physical needs (i.e., money, material goods). Many of today’s Pastors are preaching a prosperity message that focuses on the material blessings of God. These Pastors preach and teach as though God is some kind of a sugar daddy. This type of preaching may short circuit sinful man’s path to redemption by appealing to his/her physical needs and desires, while neglecting the spiritual. That is what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan’s first attempt at man will always appeal to man’s carnal (fleshly) desires.
4 But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die,
5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate.
When men are only concerned with his physical needs and desires and not his spiritual, he is unable to have a genuine relationship with God. Our sin is what separates us from God and only a spiritual transformation will reconcile us back to God. This spiritual transformation can only take place through the repentance of sin, believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This transformation is a spiritual rebirth.
5 Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [[a]even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.
6 What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Only a born again Christian is able to live a spirit-filled life that enables the light of Jesus to shine through to the world. Jesus is the light of the world! The Christian’s conduct and speech will reveal to the world who Jesus is. The Christian is responsible for teaching the world who Jesus is. Have we become so focused on our carnal needs and desires that we have neglected our spiritual relationship with God? Is the Church so backslidden that it cannot define to the world whom Jesus is? The Church is giving the world a free pass to define Jesus as it sees fit because our conduct and speech has not truthfully defined Him.
How has the Churches’ conduct and speech falsely defined Jesus to the world? Are we bound by the same addictions as the world? Are we too addicted to nicotine, alcohol and pornography? If we are truly born again Christians, we have the power through the blood of Jesus to defeat carnal addictions.
I John 3:9
9 No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and [h]habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.
When we are facing a problem, is our speech (in the presence of nonbelievers) full of doubt and fear? The world has no other way to respond to trouble except fear. We as believers have a savior who is sitting at the right hand of God the Father, interceding on our behalf. God has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God the Father will fight for us.
10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
Do we rightfully give thanks to God for everything that we have in the presence of unbelievers? I remember making an “A” on a final exam in one of my college course and I immediately said “Praise God and Thank you Jesus”. My instructor looked at me and said, “You were the one that did the hard work and studied”. I responded by telling her that it was God that gave me the mind to be able to retain the information in order to pass the exam. She sat there speechless. When the Church gets back to cultivating our spiritual relationship with our God and Savior, there is no way that the world will be asking, “who is Jesus”. When we allow His power to be manifested in our lives, even the demons will tell the world who Jesus is.
28 And when He arrived at the other side in the country of the Gadarenes, two men under the control of demons went to meet Him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way.
29 And behold, they shrieked and screamed, What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the appointed time?
The world is still asking, “Who is Jesus”? Who Do We Say He Is?