Who Do You Say That Jesus Is?
A conversation around Matthew 16
Today we come across a pinnacle moment in the writing of Matthew. Jesus says there words: “Who do you say that I am?”
Today to get started we are going to take a quick quiz. A little different than other quizzes, but I think it will bring us to a good starting point of conversation. The important thing in this quiz is to answer with the first thing that comes to mind. The first thing that you need to do is identify a person that knows you well. Write the first name on your announcement card of a person that knows you well. I am going to ask you to think for yourself and think for them. Write your answers down somewhere.
A food you like?
A food they think you like?
What do you spend a lot of your time doing?
What do they think you spend a lot of your time doing?
What do you care about?
What do they say you care about?
Name one of your personality traits?
What personality trait would they say first in describing you?
What do you think you will be doing in ten years?
What do they think you will be doing in ten years?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What do they think you like to do with your spare time?
What bothers you?
What do they think bothers you?
How do you respond to stress?
How do they think you respond to stress?
There isn’t a score to this quiz, but think through what you went through in taking this test.
I have such a hard time making determinations about myself.
Why is that?
The person that I identified really doesn’t know much about me.
I know my answers, but I have a real hard time putting words in the mouth of someone who knows me.
My answers and the “they” answers were the same.
My answers and the “they” answers were not the same.
How do you process the differences between you and the you that others see?
Does what others think of you change you? Does what others perceive of you change you? Does what others know about you change you? Let the tension of those questions linger in you today. Feel the weight of this. Today we come to the moment in Matthew where Jesus asks two questions to His disciples.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Who do others say that I am? Who do you say that I am?
The question is there. Who is Jesus?
Two dialogue questions that will take a few minutes to process. What have other people in your life thought or said about Jesus that you don’t agree with? Now this is not a moment to focus on the person, in fact, I would encourage you to not even say who they were. This is a moment to focus on the thought or what was said.
What have other people in your life thought or said about Jesus that you don’t agree with? How did you responded?
Now I want you to flip that conversation. From the tension you felt, to the tension you have caused. Others processing it.
What things have you thought or said about Jesus that others have not agreed with? How did “they” responded?
The premise of the whole book of Matthew is that Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one, the saviour. In the introduction of Matthew:
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
It then gives the genealogy from Abraham - to David - To Jesus:
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Matthew is trying to share that Jesus was not just some guy born, but Messiah, Saviour, the one true God, who was born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now Peter, because of observation, because of relationship, because the leading of God,. Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter has an answer. The disciples had just said that others say that Jesus is:
John the Baptist
Or one of the other prophets…
But what about you Peter?
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God?” Then Jesus pours our praise on Peter for his answer. Saying that:
His answer from God
That the church will be built on Peter
The gates of Hades will not overcome it
Peter’s prayers will be answered
Wow. Peter Got it! All praise be to Peter!...
Then the next words in Matthew, the very next words read as:
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Peter gets it in one breath and completely misses it in the next. Peter claims in one moment that Jesus is the savior, then in the next shows that He is not the type of savior Peter was expecting...
How is it possible for Peter to “get it” and “not get it” all at the same time?
As we have been working on this message the challenge we have felt is in the pressure to give the right answer.
But it is not on accident that the themes repeat over and over in Matthew. It is not about what words you can say and proclaim, it’s about the true belief buried inside of each of us. It’s about our hearts. It’s about the you who only you know. That has continually been Matthew’s focus. As we build our understanding of Jesus through how He relates to us and how we relate to Him, it is a process. It is relationship. Is is not just the ability to give the right answers. So, a final dialogue question for you:
Who do you say Jesus is? Do you want “who you say Jesus is” to change or are you satisfied with it?
Take It Deeper Questions
Read Matthew 16:13-28
If we polled two good friends from your early teen years, What adjectives would they use to describe you? Would the answers change as you grew?
Why did people think Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah or Jeremiah?
What was significant about Peter’s answer?
What kind of Messiah was Peter expecting?
What activities and attitudes are at the heart of Christian discipleship?
How are you personally challenged by this text?
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