What You Think About Jesus Matters
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
14 So they said,"Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered and said,"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. NKJV
Jesus is the great divide in religion. And what people think of Him is more than a passing point of conversation. “Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel,” Luke 2:34 NKJV Notice that because of Jesus many would rise up to where they would have never been without Him while others would fall.
It would seem that in a world where almost everything could be a god, from insects to emperors that one more claiming divinity would cause no small stir. But the rub comes when we find that Jesus did not claim equality to the emperor, but the Jehovah of the Old Testament. The one who claimed to be the one and only true God.
But not only that but He claimed to be the one and only channel or path to Jehovah. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. NKJV
But would anyone believe it? Or would people become confused with the message and not understand who He really was?
The answer is found in Peter’s confession. Jesus had asked a simple question, Who do people say that I am?”
The answers were various, much like they are today. Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the old prophets from the centuries before. Some even thought, as Herod did, that He was John the Baptist come back from the dead. But the real question was not concerning what the world thinks, but His followers. Who do they think that He is?
I. It would be good to notice what Peter doesn’t say.
A. He doesn’t say, “You are a great teacher”
1. For although that was true, it was far from what Jesus was.
2. Many today want us to believe that was the most of what Jesus ever was, a great teacher.
3. They want us to think that He was like Buddha, Confucius or the great Greek philosophers.
B. He also didn’t say you are good man and our example.
1. Although we could hardly go wrong trying to imitate the life of Jesus, we could hardly hope to make it.
2. Jesus was good alright, He was perfect, complete and holy, just like the Father.
3. But we cannot do that, and that is not why Jesus came, be be our example.
C. He didn’t say you are a great miracle worker.
1. No one ever did more miracles than did Jesus in the time He did.
2. But even miracles alone are not a sign of greatness.
3. For even Satan and his workers often do miracles for their own ends.
II. But what did Peter say concerning the person of Jesus of Nazareth?
A. That He was the Christ.
1. This means the anointed.
2. It has particular reference to Daniel 9:24-26
a. Dan 9:24-25 24 "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; NKJV
b. The word Messiah in verse 25and 26 is from the word anoint in verse 24.
3. It can be seen also in Ps 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed NKJV
4. The Old Testament word Messiah is the equivalent of Christ which literally translated would be the anointed.
5. [Unto the Messiah] The word Messiah occurs but four times in the common version of the Scriptures: Dan 9:25-26; John 1:41; 4:25. It is synonymous in meaning with the word "Christ," the Anointed. See the notes at Matt 1:1. Messiah is the Hebrew word; Christ the Greek. The Hebrew word Maashiyach (OT:4899) occurs frequently in the Old Testament, and, with the exception of these two places in Daniel, it is uniformly translated "anointed," and is applied to priests, to prophets, and to kings, as being originally set apart to their offices by solemn acts of anointing. So far as the "language" is concerned here, it might be applied to anyone who sustained these offices, and the proper application is to be determined from the connection. Our translators have introduced the article - "unto the Messiah." This is wanting in the Hebrew, and should not have been introduced, as it gives a definiteness to the prophecy which the original language does not necessarily demand.
Our translators undoubtedly understood it as referring to him who is known as the Messiah, but this is not necessarily implied in the original. All that the language fairly conveys is, "until an anointed one." Who "that" was to be is to be determined from other circumstances than the mere use of the language, and in the interpretation of the language it should not be assumed that the reference is to any particular individual. That some eminent personage is designated; some one who by way of eminence would be properly regarded as anointed of God; some one who would act so important a part as to characterize the age, or determine the epoch in which he should live; some one so prominent that he could be referred to as "anointed," with no more definite appellation; some one who would be understood to be referred to by the mere use of this language, may be fairly concluded from the expression used-for the angel clearly meant to imply this, and to direct the mind forward to some one who would have such a prominence in the history of the world. (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
6. Matt 1:1 [Christ] The word "Christ" is a Greek word, Christos (NT:5547), signifying "anointed." The Hebrew word, Mashiyach (OT:4899), signifying the same is "Messiah." Hence, Jesus is called either the Messiah, or the Christ, meaning the same thing. The Jews speak of the Messiah; Christians speak of him as the Christ. In ancient times, when kings and priests were set apart to their office, they were anointed with oil, Lev 4:3; 6:20; Ex 28:41; 29:7; 1 Sam 9:16; 15:1; 2 Sam 23:1. To anoint, therefore, means often the same as to consecrate, or to set apart to an office. Hence, those thus set apart are said to be anointed, or to be the anointed of God. It is for this reason that the name is given to the Lord Jesus. Compare the notes at Dan 9:24. He was set apart by God to be the King, and High Priest, and Prophet of his people. Anointing with oil was, moreover, supposed to be emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit; and since God gave him the Spirit without measure (John 3:34), so he is especially called "the Anointed of God." (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
a. Notice here that Barnes gives us the root of the meaning.
b. That there were three classes of people anointed, priest, kings and prophets.
c. Therefore in this sense Jesus fulfills all three of these grand offices as Barnes states. “He was set apart by God to be the King, and High Priest, and Prophet of his people. Anointing with oil was, moreover, supposed to be emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit; and since God gave him the Spirit without measure (John 3:34), so he is especially called "the Anointed of God.”
B. The Son of the Living God
1. This is an exclusive club and Jesus is the only member.
2. The Jehovah’s witness would like to translate this “a” son of God. But that is not what the text says.
3. The Jews understood exactly what that meant. John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God . NKJV
4. It is kind of interesting that in the first century the false teachers taught that Jesus was divine but not human and today they teach He was human but not divine.
5. Col 1:15-18 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. NKJV
6. Col 2:9 For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, NLT
7. Col 2:9 For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. AMP
8. Col 2:9 For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, NASB
III. What is the use for us with all of this.
A. I think John Owen says it best. “The danger of men’s souls lies [lieth] not in a disability to attain a comprehension of a longer or more subtle [subtile] confession[s] of faith, but in embracing things contrary to [unto], or inconsistent with, this foundation.”
1. Jesus is the exclusive way of salvation. Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." NKJV
2. Rom 10:9 if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. NKJV
3. 1 John 4:2-3 Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. NKJV
B. Today this confession of Peter is so important because it is so often denied in liberal Christendom.
1. Molly Marshall, who will be the featured speaker at the ABC-USA biannual in Denver this week is a good example.
2. ANALYSIS Texas committee embraces profs who doubt
By Russell D. Moore
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Few Texas Baptist churches would embrace the notion that faith in Christ is not necessary for salvation.
Or that the Bible contains errors.
Nonetheless, the newly released Baptist General Convention of Texas Seminary Study Committee Report points to scholars who hold to such liberal views as examples of "historic Baptist theology" worthy of support from Texas Baptists.
Marshall, a renowned feminist theologian, resigned from Southern's faculty in 1994 before facing proceedings that could have led to her dismissal. Marshall had been under criticism from Southern Baptist pastors and lay leaders for years due to, among other things, her embrace of a theological position known as inclusivism, the idea that those of other world religions do not need to come to explicit faith in Christ in order to be saved.
Marshall's book, "No Salvation Outside the Church? A Critical Inquiry," based on her doctoral dissertation, articulated her viewpoint that there are other ways to salvation than belief in Jesus Christ. In the dissertation she criticized those who approach a Muslim or Hindu as one "already condemned before God." Marshall also argued that those who never hear the gospel will be given another opportunity to respond to God after death.
Molly Marshall's feminist theology has also led her to advocate references to God as "she." Recently, she has also criticized conservative Southern Baptist views on sexuality. In "A Baptist's Theology," published last year by Smyth & Helwys, Marshall criticized "less nuanced approaches replete with proof texts and adamant denunciations" on issues of sexuality.
"Our understanding of sexual orientation, male/female equality, marriage, contraception, childlessness, and celibacy have moved far beyond the biological and philosophical perceptions of early Christianity," she argued.
"Baptists have allowed the Puritan impress to linger in this area," she continued. While "Hester Prynne of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter 'feared no one but God,'" she continued, "we too often fear what others might think to forge clearer, more informed understanding in the realm of human sexuality."
Marshall criticizes the belief that salvation comes through faith alone in Christ and says such a belief "unfortunately, fostered a deep suspicion about the efficacy of any human effort in matters of salvation." [FOUNDATION Magazine July-Aug 2000, p 46]
C. Jesus Himself said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." John 8:24 NKJV
D. But the final test is if we live it.
1. Peter not only confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God but his life was a living testimony to that fact.
2. He never wavered from that profession, even in the face of persecution and death.
3. He was far from perfect for he was but a man, but his faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ changed his life and the lives of untold thousands who came in contact with him.