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Who Do You Say that I am"

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Introduction

This morning I want to build a bit if you will, taking where we were last week and then moving forward. But the passage we are looking at it known as a hard saying of the Bible.
Hard meaning difficult, it is a time when Jesus was being tested by the religious leaders, they are hard hearted, they have seen so much from Jesus and yet they asked for a sign.
It is kinda of like, what more should i do for you, you have seen and heard a great deal, but yet you still do not believe.
Now here is where it gets interesting, just a little while later, ( literally later the same day) Jesus was teaching the disciples and He asked then two questions, and we will look at these two questions this morning..
Who do the people say that I am?
Who do you say that I am?
Why are these important? Well my friends, without a doubt knowing Jesus is the most important part of any life and what you think, know and believe Him shapes every aspect of life, both here and the here-after.
So lets take the word of God and lets turn to Matthew chapter 16.
Verses 13-20
Matthew 16:13–20 ESV
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “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 say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
So truly a unique and powerful passage my friends.
what can we see from this passage?
Lets consider this thought my friends.... and perhaps it is best to ask the question ourselves, just as Jesus did...

1. What is the World’s opinion of Jesus?

My friends you may think , what does it matter, I don’t care what the world thinks about my faith and my Jesus. But please understand it is crucial that we understand what the world is saying about Jesus.
It will be the only way for us to answer them as God gives us the opportunity to share a witness with them.
When you open the passage that we are looking at, consider what is being said...
Now look at verse 13 again with me
Matthew 16:13 ESV
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Now here is what is interesting right off the bat, Jesus has taken his disciples into a gentile land.
They are about 120 miles form Jerusalem, in the region of Caesarea Phillippi. It is a northern part of Palestine. This area had been a center of pagan worship from Baal to the Greek god Pan.
This place was at the foot of Mount Lebanon, near the Jordan. Phillip, the only good son of Herod the great built it in honor of Caesar, the ruler of Rome calling it Caesarea, but added his name to it calling it Caesarea Philippi to distinguish it from another town called Caesarea which lay on the northeast coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
So look at the setting, they are in a pagan land, a place where many gods are worshipped and chased after. Jesus and the disciples have just come from a meeting with the religious leaders who sought to test Jesus by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
Now Jesus posses the question: Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?
Man, what a question.
The world has many opinions about Jesus, about God… some say God is real, some say there is no such thing, some say Jesus was just a good man who did good things for the people. and some say He is God’s son...
Jesus knowing the wickedness of the peoples hearts, especially the religious leaders who should have known better… puts forth the question Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?
Now let me share this little note with you… I am doing a lot of teaching here
Now Jesus calls himself the “Son of Man” this is His favorite self designation of himself.
It is a messianic title that speaks to the mystery of the God man… the humble servant who came with power fully God and fully man, but also was a suffering servant, some to forgive sin and take the penalty of sin away from mankind by bearing its wrath upon His own body.
My friends I have said all this for to realize the world has an opinion of Jesus.
It was true then and it is true today as well.
So Jesus asked the disciples this question, in a place that was away from the pressure and stress of the religious leaders, but it was in the heart of pagan worship and idolatry.
Now listen to the disciples answer....... verse 14
Matthew 16:14 ESV
14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
So break down their answers....
Some say John the Baptist.... others say Elijah. some Jeremiah.
A. John the Baptist....
John is a favorite character for me, he came with such passion and drive under the power of the Lord. People heard him, followed him and were baptized by him.
But John’s ministry was only to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming, he had down this and by his own words John said
John 3:30 ESV
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John knew his ministry was complete, he has seen the Lord at work. But later John because of His faithful preaching was arrested and later beheaded by Herod.
Some thought Jesus was John resurrected.... But Jesus was completely different.
B. Some say Elijah....
We can say this with all sureness, Jesus never worked under the spirit and power of Elijah,
That was John the Baptist’s ministry. tells us this ....
Luke 1:17 ESV
17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
John the Baptist came and did this, proclaiming the kingdom of God was coming and for people to repent and make themselves ready.
C. And then finally, some say Jeremiah....
Some said Jesus was the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah who had returned form the dead. Jeremiah as the weeping prophet, the one who was heart broken over the sin and the moral decay of the people.
Jeremiah wept over sin. Jesus displayed the same attitude over the state of the people, over the nation. He wept, was heart broken over sin.....
Important - Oh my brothers and sisters when was the last time we wept over sin. When was the last time we wept over broken homes, When was the last time we wept over people and family members who did not believe? When was the last time we wept that so many don’t think it important to be in His house?
Oh my brothers and sisters when was the last time we wept over sin. When was the last time we wept over broken homes, When was the last time we wept over people and family members who did not believe? When was the last time we wept that so many don’t think it important to be in His house?
When was the last time????
The world had so many opinions about Jesus, then and now. Jesus asked them to share with him what they knew...
The world still has so many opinions about Jesus, and most will arrive at some novel notion that Jesus is ok, He was a good teacher, but he is just one way to heaven.... We cannot afford to allow the polls of the world influence what we know and believe about Jesus.
Our spiritual decision cannot be the products of what others believe, and some are guilty of that very thing.
That is why it is so incredibly important that we read and study the Word of God. God himself and His word must be that which influences us...
Now lets move to the second question Jesus asked...
Now lets move to the second question Jesus asked...

2. Who Do You Say That I am.... What is Our Opinion of Jesus....

Do you realize why Jesus asked the disciples this question? He wants to know what they have determined and what their confession alone is....
Salvation my friends is an individual act, it is based solely upon our heart and confession.
So lets look back at our passage...
Matthew 16:15–16 ESV
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:15 ESV
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
This my friends is one of the most important confessions in the history of the world. for it is here that Peter, well Peter kind of becomes the spokesperson for the whole group when he answers, .... But he sasys
… “.... you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Lets break down what Peter is communicating to Jesus this day....
A. You are the Christ. The word Christ means Messiah or Anointed One… The term Anointed one points back to King David who was the anointed King of Israel, He was David’s son if you will by descent… as the physical man… As the God man, Jesus was the Messiah, the one whom the nation waited with great expectation…
As the Son of God, the God -man, he was what all Isreal has waited for, prayed for, looked for… and yes hoped for.....
He was a answer to all that was wrong…
B. You are the Son of the living God… Unlike the pagan world, unlike those stone statues, Jesus was alive… tells us that God became flesh and dwelt among His people.
Do you remember the story of Daniel in the Lions Den, the Persian- Mede King, had put him there, in the Lions den because of the law he had been tricked into establishing, not realizing at the time that the religious leaders and others hated Daniel and conspired against him.
But that next morning, the king came because he knew Daniel served a living God. Listen to Daniel 6, verse 20
Daniel 6:20 ESV
20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
He called Daniel a servant, of the living God.... God is alive, and he became flesh and dwelt among us that he might bring us hope, that he could bring us life in the midst of a world dying in sin.
My friends, Peter and the other disciples knew that Jesus was the Son of God. But at times doubt still ruled their lives...
What do you believe about Jesus?
What are you telling the world around you? Or do you just remain silent my friends.
Now there is just one more thought to cover my friends...

3. Christ’s declaration....

Without a doubt this passage is a hot topic among churches and believers for years.
So lets just dive into it and see what the Lord has said and yes, what it means today.
, verse 17-20
Matthew 16:17–20 ESV
17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Now when you look at this passage, one could easily divided it into 3 sections or pieces if you will.
A. The First is the Joy of the Blessing - Jesus was pleased with the answer that Simon Peter said to him. Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!
Even though Peter spoke for the group, the message is directed toward him.
Blessed… this is more than a temporary state of happiness, this is the joy, the lasting well- being of walking in a relationship with the Lord. Blessed is the state ( the place ) those who are His enjoy.
The phrase Simon Bar-Jonah is just the Aramaic for Simon, the son of Jonah. Jonah was the natural father of Simon Peter.
But it wasn’t his natural father who revealed this truth to Him, not flesh and blood but it was God himself, the everlasting Father in heaven who has revealed this to Simon. The source of all truth and life is of course God the Father.
B. The Joy of the Declaration… Here is where the great difficulty lies my friends, where is where it seems to get confusing but I will do my best to explain what is happening here.
So what does Jesus mean by this phrase
Matthew 16:18–19 ESV
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
So lets divide it and consider the first that deals with Peter and the phrase upon this rock.
“Peter’s” name Petros means stone( like a little stone used to skim the water) and the word “Rock” is the greek word Petra which means rock and in large massive rock.
The debate comes into the picture when we use the other New Testament name for Peter Cephas, which means Rock as in the case of Petra.
A Question then comes into play...
So what does Jesus mean, is founding his church on Peter? and since Peter was the one who preached at Pentecost, does this make Peter the first Pope… ahh No!
Lets just walk this dog out of the park… Jesus is not establishing his church on Peter. If this were the case, all that Peter did would be good.
But we know that Peter is rebuked by Paul for eating with the circumcised in the New Testament book of Acts, and James ( half brother of Jesus) is the one who is head over the first church, the church body at Jerusalem from wince all others were sent out.. If this were the case, you think it would be Peter, at least at first.
But it is not...
Peter is never given more authority or power than anyone else in the church. These 12, which by the book of would include Paul as the 12th apostle.
For the most part we have interpreted ( Protestants ) this passage as Jesus confessing the whole group as the ground by which he would build his church, and Jesus himself being the Chief Cornerstone,
Ephesians 2:20 ESV
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
Ephesians 2:19–20 ESV
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
Now consider this.. we are some of the stones around the foundation. Stones that God has called in Christ Jesus into a spiritual house and a royal priesthood.
1 Peter 2:21 ESV
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1 Peter 2:5 ESV
5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
We are living stones, alive because there is a Rock and his name is Jesus.
Then Jesus says… The Gates of Hell will not Prevail Against it
Then Jesus says… The Gates of Hell will not Prevail Against it
Death my friends has no power over the church, over those who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. He my friends is the one who is the Resurrection and the Life (), .... even though a man dies, yet shall he live....
Because He is life, no death can come to us and certainly no grave. We are protected because Jesus is the door… ( think gates ) If he is the gate, death, the grave is not getting past the one who is life… Amen!
Amen..
Then we see the joy of a promise
C. The Joy of a Promise..... Look at verse 19
Matthew 16:19 ESV
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Two promises are made here to these disciples, They will be given Keys and then binding and loosing.
Keys to the kingdom is speaking to the idea of an entrance into the kingdom. A key unlocks what is locked. I want you to see here my friends we have a message, the gospel message that unlocks the chains of oppression and sin. it unlocks the door of heaven and gives us entrance into the kingdom of the living God.
No longer are we bound, no longer are we excluded. I am been set free.... you have been set free. All those in Jesus, who know him as savior and Lord are free.
Jesus was giving them the message to preach, teach and share with the world. The apostles will be the first to preach the Word of God, Acts chapter 2 and then .. and so forth… in each of these chapters I have referenced, lives that have changed, that have been set free.
You have the keys, the words of life and death. Are you using them??
Now the next phrase whatever you bind up on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Now the next phrase whatever you bind up on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Honestly I have seen this misquoted, mis interpreted to fit many different sets of theological points… lets look at it. what is Jesus saying.
When you think of binding and loosing, we often think maybe of the Jewish community and the fetters, those things they use in their prayer time. But they also spoke of binding and loosing, which really speaks to forbidding and permitting.
IN this passage, Peter and the other disciples, apostles are given authority to exercise discipline, to say what is right and wrong according to the Word of God. Thus as the church grows, the physical leaders of the church have the right to exercise authority, discipline with in the body of believers.
It is not meant to be a way for men to Lord over another, it is to ensure the church functions properly and that we exist under the head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 18:18 ESV
18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
John 20:23 ESV
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
You see this mentioned as well in and .
And then we come to the last section here
And then we come to the last section here
C. Jesus gives a Solemn Command - The command is seen in verse 20, His time had not yet come… meaning he as walking toward the cross and did not to much attention that might stop this, Jesus is meant to be king, but not until his Kingdom comes to this earth during the 1000 year reign.
Until then, Jesus tells them to keep all this secret.
But you don’t have to keep any of this secret. Jesus is King and Lord and I want you to know that you must make a personal decision to be saved.
You must choose Jesus in order to be saved, it beings by realizing that you are a sinner and ask him to forgive you of sin, to save you and give to you eternal life.
That is the message of the cross.
Jesus saves us from sin, He calls you to accept him and know who he is and the blessing he can give to your life.
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