"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?"
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:13-16)
If the Lord Jesus Christ asks you the same question that He asked His disciples, what would your answer be? Who is the Lord Jesus Christ to you?
If you notice the verses that we have chosen for this article, the first question that was asked by the Lord Jesus was, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" The first question He asked His disciples was who He is at the standpoint of those who are not following Him.
For hundreds of years, people thought of Jesus Christ in many different ways. In His days, people thought that He was John the Baptist or Elijah or Jeremiah or just one of the many Prophets. Today, as you search the web, you will get different opinions of who Jesus is. Some would say that He is just a man like us, a good man, or a good teacher.
Some would say that He is one of the prophets. Others would even dare to say that He is the brother of Satan or even just a myth. Others would say that He was just a man who was made a Deity by Constantine and made a large and powerful religious group out of Him. Others would say that He did not really exist and that He did not really die and rise from the dead. If you keep searching, you will get more different opinions about who Jesus Christ is.
Then He asked the second question, and this time He asked His disciples, "He saith unto them, but whom say ye that I am?" He said, "But what about you? Who do you think I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
He told Peter that his answer was the right answer, but it did not really come from him but was revealed to him by God the Father in Heaven. In this confession, the Lord Jesus said, "I will build my Church." Of course, we know that this was misunderstood by many and believed that Peter is the foundation of the Church.
This has been debated for centuries and many will not agree that the Rock where the Lord Jesus built His Church was not referred to Peter, but was referred to Himself. Peter, a name given to Simon, is Petros in original Greek which means a small rock which is also from the Greek word lithos which means a stone.
The other name that was given to Peter by the Lord was Cephas from the Greek word kay-fas which means a stone. When Jesus said, "Upon this Rock," the Greek word is Petra which means a big rock, a boulder or even a cliff or a ledge made of rock or a mass of rock. It means a chief Corner Stone which is the foundation of a big or massive structure or building. The Apostle Peter himself did not claim that he was the foundation stone, but Christ.
"If so be, ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." (1Peter 2:3-8).
The Apostle Peter understood that Christ was the foundation stone, and the Lord Jesus Christ honored his statement that, upon his confession, Christ is the Son of the living God. This is the foundation that Christ built His Church and continuously building.
What I am saying here is not to argue with anybody about this long time debate of who the foundation of the Church is, whether Peter or Christ. Since Christ is alive forever more and continues forever, He is still our unchangeable Priest who is always with us and ministers to us everyday.
Please read this statement from the writer of Hebrews:
"By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore." (Hebrews 7:22-28).
My whole point here is to ask you an honest question, and it needs an honest answer — who is Jesus Christ to you? Your answer would determine your eternity.
The very reason why the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John was because he wanted us to know who the Lord Jesus really is. Our eternity hangs on this very question, and how well would our answer be: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:30-31).
John wrote his book in order to introduce us to the Lord Jesus Christ. If we know Him from what the Apostle John has written about Him, then our faith will be founded on the Rock who is Jesus Christ and our salvation will surely have an eternal guarantee. Your assignment is to read the Book of John and know who Jesus Christ really is. Your faith in Him would depend so much on how well you know Him. For how can you trust someone you do not know?
Who is Jesus Christ to you? Is He just a man? A myth? Or do you believe that He is your Savior who paid for all your sins at the cruel cross of Calvary? Your honest answer will secure your life with God forever.
We will study more about who Jesus really is in our next article. God bless you.*
Pastor Pedro Etabag is the regional director of Lifeword-Asia Pacific and senior pastor of Tangub Missionary Baptist Church in Bacolod City.
March 01, 2023
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