Thursday, August 24, 2017

Who Do Men Say Jesus Is?

But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15–16).

From time to time Jesus would pull back from His public ministry and go to a private place to spend some time alone or with His intimate disciples. It was on one such occasion that Jesus asked His friends, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13).

The disciples replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). John the Baptist was one of the most famous men of the day. The Jews had a history of prophets, but for 400 years, since the time of Malachi, there had been none. Suddenly, however, a new prophet had appeared. John had stirred up a great deal of interest, and then was executed by Herod. Because of Jesus’ miracles many, including Herod himself, thought He was a resurrected John.

The last prophecy of the Old Testament had been that Elijah would come in the last days to prepare the way for the Messiah. Because of the ministry of John, many people were stirred up to look for the Messiah. They knew of Jesus’ work and miracles, but since Jesus had not publicly claimed to be the Messiah, they thought perhaps He was Elijah.

Jesus then asked His men who they thought He was. Peter, speaking for them all, declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. The word Christ is a Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah. It is not part of Jesus’ name, but rather is His title: Jesus the Messiah.
How did Peter know this? Not from his own wisdom, but because God the Father had revealed it to him (Matthew 16:17). Jesus then congratulated Peter, conferring upon him a divine blessing and a new name.

People were uncertain of Jesus’ true identity in His own day, even as now. If you know who Jesus really is, it is not because of your own wisdom, but because God Himself has shown Him to you. How well do you know Jesus? Would you like to know Him better? There is only one way, and that is the same way you came to know Him to begin with: God must teach you. Ask the Father today to teach you more about Jesus, as you study His Word.