Who do YOU say that Jesus is ?
I’d like to read to you from the bible, the account of when Jesus asked his apostles, “Who do the people say that I am?” Some versions say, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And of course that refers the Jews, who had seen Jesus, and heard Him speak, and who saw the miracles (or the “signs”) that He did as He travelled from village to village, and city to city.
This occasion is recorded in Mathew 16:13 thru 16, and in Mark 8:27 thru 29, and in Luke 9:18 thru 20.
Now, what some people said, is recorded in Mathew 13, verse 54. Here’s what that verse says; “When He had come to His own country, (that means to the area where Jesus grew up) He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said; “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” Where did He get His great wisdom and His powers?
John 7:46 says; “Never has anyone spoken like this man!” Where did a carpenter’s son, get this ability?
And so Jesus asks His apostles, Who do the crowds, and the multitudes of the Jews say that I am?
Well, here’s the answer given by the apostles.. I’m going to read it from Luke 9, verse 19; (although the answer is just about the same on all three of the accounts) So, Who do the people say that I am, Jesus asked? “And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.”
Well, the multitudes were wrong weren’t they? As is the case most of the time. So then Jesus asks in verse 20; “But what about you? Jesus asked.. Who do YOU say I am? Peter answered; The Christ of God!” Now the original text doesn’t say.. “The Christ OF God”. The original says.. “The Christ, the God!” That tells us something very important about who the Christ is. The Christ, is GOD!
Mark 8, verse 29 says; “You are the Christ!” But Mathew says it a little bit differently. Mathew 16, verse 16 says; “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”
Jesus is.. The Christ.. The Christ, the Son of the living God.. AND.. The Christ the God! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God!
If the people of Jesus’ hometown, and the area He grew up in, had understood this, they wouldn’t have asked.. “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” They were the very works of God! Jesus said in John 14:11; “Believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; Or else, believe on account of the works themselves.”
If you would have been there, would you have believed in Jesus, because of the works that He did? You probably wouldn’t have believed, simply because of what Jesus said. I mean, anyone can claim to be something, or can claim to be someone. But where’s the evidence of that claim? Where’s the proof?
You know, that’s a lot like claiming, to be a Christian. Where’s the evidence of being a Christian. The world wants to see evidence. Otherwise, we’re just like the rest of the world; Otherwise, we’re just one of them. But even God wants to see the evidence! God knows whether or not our claims are true; But yet, even He wants to see the evidence behind our claims.
That’s why we’re told in Ephesians 2, verse 10; “For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” There’s the evidence; Walking in the “good works” which God prepared beforehand, form the foundation of the world. Not OUR “good works”, but GOD’S “good works.
Isaiah 64, verse 8 says; “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You are the potter; We are all the work of Your hand.” And as Ephesians 2:10 says; “For we are HIS workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works..”
So then, who was going to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and was indeed God, unless He showed them the evidence? Wo would believe simply on His word?
Do you happen to remember when Nathaniel, who was called to be an apostle, first met Jesus? It’s in John chapter 1, verses 47 thru 50. Here’s what the bible says; “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said of him; Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit! Nathanael said to him; How do you know me? Jesus answered him; Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. Nathanael answered Him; Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are King of Israel! Jesus answered him; Because I said to you.. ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these. Then He declared; “Truly, truly, I tell you, you will all see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Isn’t it strange, how some people will believe, that they CAN believe, with so little evidence. All Jesus said was.. “I saw you under the fig tree”. And Nathaniel believed. May ALL of our hearts be so open to the Lord, as Nathaniel’s heart was. And may we believe, whole-heartedly, because of the testimony of those who DID see the works that Jesus did.
But do you remember the woman who believed just as quickly as Nathaniel did? It was the woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well, and the story is in John chapter 4, verses 1 thru 30. Jesus had asked her to draw some water for Him, from the well. And that’s where Jesus taught her about the “Living Water” which He Himself would give. And in the conversation, Jesus said to the woman, in verse 16; “..Go, call thy husband, and come hither.”
And she answered in verse 17 and said; “I have no husband.” And Jesus said; “Thou hast well said, I have no husband; For thou hast had five husbands; And he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband: In that you speak truly.”
And the Samaritan woman said, in verse 19; “..Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet.” And when when she went to her home, she to the people there; “Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did: Is not this the Christ?” Just like in the case of Nathaniel, no miracles, no wondrous signs, just a little bit of knowledge from on high. May we all have that same faith, and more!
So there’s one side of the spectrum, you might say, showing how little it actually takes, for some people to believe. But it’s not like that for everyone. What about Thomas for example? To this day, the phrase “Doubting Thomas” is used to describe some people. There was a man who had been with Jesus from the beginning, but yet he refused to believe in the resurrection, until he put his fingers and his hand, into the wounded body of Jesus!
Jesus had appeared to His disciples on the evening of the first day of the week, after He was raised from the dead. But the scriptures say in John 20, verses 24 & 25; “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” (Thomas was an ancient Chaldean name, which means “twin”. And Didymus, is the Greek translation of that name) “So the other disciples told him; “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them; “Unless I see in his hands, the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” He sounded kind of adamant in his unbelief, didn’t he? But then a lot of people can be just like that. Unless I see it with my own eyes, and touch it with my own hands, I won’t believe it!
But then do you remember what John wrote in his letter that we call “1st John”? Listen to what he wrote, in 1 John 1:1 thru 3; “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon, and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life; And the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us; That which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; And indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
That’s quite the statement, isn’t it? That’s quite the declaration of truth! It’s the truth upon which our very salvation is dependent upon.
But it takes longer for some people to believe it, than it takes others. And Thomas was one who needed a little more convincing. And so the scripture says, in John 20, verse 26; “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked; Jesus came and stood among them and said; “Peace be with you.”
And listen to verses 27 thru 29; “Then He said to Thomas; “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; And reach here your hand, and put it into My side; And do not be unbelieving, but believing! Thomas answered and said to Him; My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him; “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.”
That’s how we want to be! We want to believe, even though we haven’t seen with our own eyes. But we do have the testimony of those who did see, and touch, and know, Jesus.
And it make me think of the prayer that Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven. In John chapter 17, Jesus was praying for His apostles, and He said in verses 18 thru 21; “As You have sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” In other words, Jesus set Himself apart from the world, and lived a sinless life. A life that ended up bring a lot of persecution, and suffering, and pain; But He did it for the sake of truth, so that mankind might know the truth. And He did it for the sake of His followers, those who were also willing to sacrifice, so that they too could be “sanctified”. So they could be “cleansed and set apart” by God. Because that’s exactly what being sanctified means. It means to be cleansed, forgiven of sins, and set apart from the world, and placed in the kingdom of Christ.
But then Jesus adds this to His prayer; “Neither do I pray for these alone, but for them also, which shall believe on me, through their word; That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; That they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” And that’s not the end of the prayer, but that makes the point I’m wanting to make.
Jesus was praying for His apostles, and for you, and for me, and for everyone who will believe that He is indeed, the Christ, Christ the Son of God, and Christ the God.
Where do you fit in, on that spectrum, of what it takes for you to believe? Are you more like Nathaniel, and like the Samaritan woman at the well? Or have you been more like Thomas, who needed a bit more evidence before you can believe? It really doesn’t really doesn’t matter, as long as we DO believe, everything that God’s word has to say to tell us.
Of course there’s always going be some, who refuse to believe, no matter what. It’s like the words of Luke 16, verse 31; “..neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”