Who Is Jesus To You?

Photo by Laura Siegal on Unsplash

Matthew 16:13-18 When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, {Elijah}; and others, {Jeremiah}, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art THE Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Who is Jesus to you? This is perhaps the most important question you can ever ask yourself, for the answer will change the direction of your life.

Are You Following Jesus, Or An Idol?

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Let’s notice first of all where Jesus was. He was in the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi. Mark tells us in:

Mark 8:27 Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cæsarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

Jesus was actually heading into the various villages and towns that made up Cæsarea Philippi. This area is only mentioned twice in the Bible (see above), but it’s an interesting area. First, the area is Gentile territory. No Jews went into the area because of the idolatry that was so prevalent there. Cæsarea Philippi was the location of the cave of Pan, the Pagan god of sexual pleasure. Ryan Fraser wrote an article for the Jackson Sun called Caesarea Philippi: The Gates of Hades. In the article he recounted his trip to Israel, and his visit to this area. Describing the “Cave of Pan”, Ryan wrote:

To the pagan mind, the cave at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld (Hades), where fertility gods took up residence during the winter. People committed detestable acts to worship these false gods. Caesarea Philippi’s location was especially unique because it stood at the base of a cliff where spring water flowed. At one time, the water ran directly from the mouth of a cave set in the bottom of the cliff.”

The Pagans made sacrifices to idols at the mouth of this cave called “The Gates of Hades”. You ask me, “What significance does this have to this sermon”? Read again what Jesus told Peter upon his confession of Jesus:

Matthew 16:18 I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Word Study The words translated “GATES OF HELL” is in the Greek πύλη πύλη ᾅδης {pylē hadēs}, The Gates of Hades. Jesus was, I believe, standing in front of this Pagan site of idolatry. The Gentile inhabitants of Cæsarea Philippi believed that this cave was the entrance into the underworld, the other side of the veil. They believed the gods received people into the Pagan heaven through this portal. When Peter told Jesus:

Matthew 16:16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus told Peter that the great truth Peter boldly spoke is the means by which Jesus builds His Church. The pagan belief systems represented by that cave called “The Gates of Hell/ Hades” will not prevail against Christ’s Church.

Is Jesus Just Another “John The Baptist”?

Many people today have many ideas as to Who Jesus is. If you ask people “Who do you think Jesus is?”, you will get a variety of answers. People in America today are familiar with the name “Jesus Christ”. If you ask them the same question Jesus asked His disciples:

Matthew 16:13 … Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?

You will get a variety of answers, even in the local Churches. Jesus’ disciples told Jesus:

Matthew 16:14 … Some say that thou art John the Baptist

A lot of people today believe this about Jesus. Jesus is a great spiritual leader. Jesus is no different than John the Baptist (the forerunner of Christ) or Mahatma Gandhi. When Gandhi was asked why he did not embrace Christianity, he replied:

“…to be a good Hindu also meant that I would be a good Christian. There is no need for me to join your creed to be a believer in the beauty of the teachings of Jesus or try to follow His example.”

A United Methodist preacher Dr E. Stanley Jones wrote in his book “Mahatma Gandhi: An Interpretation”:

On the day that Mahatma Gandhi was killed, I arrived in Delhi just an hour and a quarter before the tragedy … {it was} the greatest tragedy since the Son of God died on the cross.”

I am sure Dr. Jones spoke sincerely, but he fell into the same trap many fall into. You see, many people see Jesus as just a great man, another John the Baptist. They see His death as a tragedy, contrary to what Jesus said. Gandhi was murdered by an assassin. Jesus, on the other hand, laid His life down for us. He said:

John 10:17-18 … I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. …

When John the Baptist was murdered by Herod (Matthew 14:10; Mark 6:27), this was not a death he chose. If John were given the option, I’m sure he would have chosen to live. But Jesus – both knowingly and willingly – laid His life down for our salvation. Jesus Christ is not just a great man, but He is God Incarnate. The Apostle said:

Philippians 2:6-11 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

John the Baptist was an exceptional man, a man that God blessed. But John the Baptist, like Mahatma Gandhi, was but a man. Jesus Christ is God Incarnate. He is the Living Word of God become flesh.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus Christ made all things. He is the beginning and end of all things. Jesus calls Himself:

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

It is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, Who is the God of Scripture. This same God said in:

Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

There is but One God Who is “the First and the Last”. This wondrous God created everything that you see. We are told in:

Isaiah 44:12-13 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. 13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

John the Baptist was a great prophet. According to Jesus, he was the greatest prophet who ever lived. Jesus said,

Matthew 11:11 … Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist …

Yes, John was great. John was a great leader, and hoards of Jews went into the wilderness to seek out John. But John was but a mortal. Jesus Christ is eternal God become flesh. Jesus Christ is the One of Whom the Father said:

Matthew 3:17 … This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And to remove all doubt the Father reiterated again:

Matthew 17:5 … This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

The Father did not call John the Baptist, or Gandhi, or any other religious leader throughout human history “My Beloved Son”. Jesus only holds this distinction. The Father said, “Hear ye HIM”. Jesus is the sole representative from the Trinity, the manifest Member of the Godhead.

To say that “Jesus is another John the Baptist” is actually blasphemy. Jesus Christ is God. To make God into a man is misleading, and blasphemous. John was great, but Jesus is infinitely greater!

Is Jesus Just Another “Great Prophet”?

Returning to Jesus’ question:

Matthew 16:13 ..Whom do men say that
I, the Son of man, am?

The disciples had not only heard that Jesus was John the Baptist, but …

Matthew 16:14 … Some say that thou art … Elijah; and others, {Jeremiah}, or one of the prophets.

What is wrong with this? Jesus, when He visited His hometown of Nazareth, referred to Himself as a Prophet. He said:

Matthew 13:57 …. A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.

Jesus called Himself a Prophet. So isn’t Jesus just a great Prophet? No, Jesus is more than this. You can see this in how Jesus addresses Himself in the question. Again, Jesus asked,

Matthew 16:13 ..Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Jesus called Himself “the Son of Man”. When we hear this phrase, it means nothing to us. To us it just sounds like Jesus is saying He’s a human. But the phrase “Son of man” has great emphasis in the writings of the Prophets. You see, from the time of Adam’s fall, and the destruction it wrought on all of humanity, God has promised that a Redeemer would one day come. On the very day that Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden, God told that old Serpent Lucifer (and Satan/ Lucifer was the serpent. See Revelation 12:9, 12:15, 20:2; 2 Corinthians 11:3):

Genesis 3:15 … I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

A Messiah would come Who would crush the devil’s head. This Messiah would be born of a woman, virgin born (Isaiah 7:14), a Holy Thing never before seen in creation, made by God the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). But this “Son of man” would be much more than a normal human. When the Prophet Daniel saw the coming of the Messiah, he wrote:

Daniel 7:13-14 … I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Every Rabbi, every Jew looked to the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. They knew that one day the Messiah, THE Son of man, would come. This Messiah would be given:

Dominion, everlasting Dominion
The Eternal Kingdom of God
All People will worship Him

Jesus specifically named Himself the Son of Man. “And whom do people say that I, THE SON OF MAN, am”? Before the Messiah came, God allowed humanity to temporarily cover their sins via animal sacrifice. This was but a temporary covering, proved by the fact that Israel had to make these sacrifices over and over again. The writer of Hebrews clarifies this truth, saying:

Hebrews 10:1-10 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. … 9 then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Messiah – “The Son of man” – came from Heaven to take away our sins once and for all. No other human has the ability to give us a right standing with God. The Bible declares that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But ONLY the Son of Man, Jesus Christ our Lord, has power to bring about forgiveness of sins.

The Prophets spoke of the coming of the Son of Man.
Jesus Christ IS The Son of Man!

When Jesus came to Nazareth and

Matthew 9:2 … they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

The Scribes and Pharisees thought, “This man blasphemes God!”. For Who can forgive sin but God? Sin is an offense against God, so only GOD can forgive sin. Jesus went on to say:

Matthew 9:6-8 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

The multitudes got it wrong. They thought, “Oh, God has given this man such power!” But God had not given Jesus this power. Jesus said, “I, the SON OF MAN, have POWER TO FORGIVE SIN”. No one else has power to do that. Only Jesus. Only the Messiah.

When the Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of violating the Sabbath Day, Jesus told them:

Matthew 12:8 … the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

The Messiah, God in the flesh, is the One Who established the Sabbath Day. He Who made the rules is He Who can change the rules. When Christ rose from the grave on the Sabbath Day, His Church began to honor the Sabbath not on the 7th day, but on the Messiah’s resurrection day. Why? The SON OF MAN, the Messiah, is Lord of the Sabbath.

Jesus Christ can forgive sins because Jesus Christ is God our Messiah. But Jesus Christ can forgive sins because Jesus Christ our Messiah paid for our sins.

Mark 8:31 {Jesus} began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

As Messiah, Jesus Christ paid for our sins. He is …

John 1:29 … the Lamb of God, which taketh away
the sin of the world.

Jesus Christ is not another Great Prophet. He is the Messiah, the Only means by which a person can be saved. Jesus said:

John 3:13-17 … no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the SON OF MAN which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him MIGHT be saved.

Knowing Jesus As The Christ Opens Heaven’s Gate

When Peter told Jesus, “You are THE Christ (Messiah), THE Son of the Living God”, Jesus replied:

Matthew 16:17-18 … Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah, the sole Savior sent from Heaven to this earth, is divinely imparted. God must speak it to your hearts. The knowledge that Christ is THE Messiah, and that there is NO OTHER MESSIAH, is what separates Christianity from the idols of this world like “The Gates of Hades”. There are many who PROFESS to be Christians. But Beloved, you are not a Christian if you cannot pass this litmus test. The Apostle James established this litmus test many years ago. He wrote:

1 John 2:22-23 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is THE Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

Whoever denies that Jesus is THE MESSIAH, the ONLY MEANS of salvation – this person is A LIAR. This person is ANTICHRIST, for this person has denied BOTH the Father and the Son. Whoever denies that Jesus is the ONLY WAY unto the Father is believing in a false, Pagan christ. John went on to say:

1 John 4:2-3 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

There is only one way unto God, and that way is by faith in Jesus Christ. You can only receive this knowledge when the Father opens your eyes to it. The solid foundation of the Church is this truth. Sadly, there are many Churches that have turned from this great truth to believe another Gospel. This little ‘g’ gospel tries to blend with the world so as to appease the world. But there is no salvation available through the other messiahs.

Peter’s profession of “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (verse 16) brings several great gifts from Jesus.

Matthew 16:18 …. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter

If you know Jesus as Messiah, then Jesus knows you. Jesus said “I know My sheep, and am known of mine” (John 10:14). Jesus knows you, dear believer. He knows your name. He knows your needs. He knows you!

Matthew 16:18 … upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The Church of Christ is built on the solid truth that Jesus is THE Christ – there is no other. The false gods of this world are just that – false. Jesus Christ is the only way to peace with God (John 14:6).

Matthew 16:19 I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven…

Those who have the keys are those who have the right to enter in. We are saved and adopted into the family of God by faith in CHRIST Jesus. Salvation is only possible through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, how I pray that God’s Spirit lead you to Jesus Christ today. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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