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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4/20/10 "Who Do You Say Jesus Is?"

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"
28 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets."
29 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Peter answered, "You are the Messiah."
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
("Images of Jesus"
This is a pivotal question that Jesus asks each disciple, and each person- "What about you?...Who do you say I am?" 
Most say Jesus was not an ordinary man.  He has certainly changed the world in three short years of ministry.  Today there are over a billion who claim to follow Him or believe in Him as God in the flesh.
Some say, like many in his day that he was a prophet.  The Muslims and many Jews say this about Jesus.  Perhaps the History channel would certainly say this.  Jesus prophesied some important things that came true shortly after his death.  He prophesied that the temple built by Herod would be destroyed (Mark 13:2- Jesus died in 33 A.D. and the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.).  Many Jews were upset that he foretold this, and this was one reason among many that he was killed (Mk. 14:58; 15:29).  He certainly prophesied his own rejection, crucifixion and resurrection (see above Mk. 13:31).
But the disciples claimed that he was more than an ordinary prophet.  He was the annointed one ("Messiah" or "Christ" means annointed one).  Three kinds of people were annointed- prophets, priests, and kings.  The messiah was to be THE annointed one- embodying all three offices.  He is a priest in that He sacrifices (Himself) for us, prays for us; He is a king who is worthy of our respect and allegiance as He provides for, oversees, and rules us. 
Matthew has Peter saying that "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (16:16).  The title "Son" means "of the essence of."  The gospel of John repeats some sayings that emphasize that Christ is God in the flesh.
C.S. Lewis wisely says, that we cannot just say Jesus was a good man or prophet.  For He spoke and identified himself as God.  We can say he was a liar when he said these things. But most who heard him said he spoke the truth better than any and embodied the truth (Jn. 14:6).  We could say he was a lunatic (but his disciples who stayed with him didn't think so, and his teachings didn't indicate this).  If he was no liar, nor a lunatic, then we should make him our Lord.
Who is Jesus, really, to you today?
Prayer: My life, even my eternal life, revolves around you, O Lord.  Your sacrifice and your resurrection enable me to live.  Help me to live in such a way that people could see my life and see who you are. ("Some Children See Him Lilly White")

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