Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)
In this text, Jesus asked a question of his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” It was a vital question, for the answer differentiated between those blessed of God and those remaining in their cursed condition. Peter and the fellows still had much to learn about Jesus and his mission, but they got the answer right.
They were aware their teacher was more than a good man. They also knew he a reincarnated Elijah, Jeremiah, or John the Baptist. No, because they had been divinely blessed by the Heavenly Father, they proclaimed Jesus to be the promised Messiah and Son of the Living God. They knew Jesus was none other than the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, or the Prince of Peace. Jesus was God come to earth. He was the Holy One clothed in human flesh. Jesus was the Son of God. He was the God-Man. He was God!
However, as will be soon seen in the following chapters, despite their God-given faith and bold declaration, Peter and the Twelve will prove to struggle with spiritual amnesia. Weirdly, as they going gets tough, these well-instructed and blessed disciples of Jesus will “unremember” that which their heads had believed and their tongues had declared. They will forget that which they have professed.
Well friends, what about us? Today, as our culture is going crazy, our world is going to hell, our children are going prodigal, our flesh is going out of control, our marriages are going to pot, our health is going down, our church is going nowhere, our confidence is going out the window, and our faith is going, going, gone, who do we say is Jesus Christ?
Allow me to help you “unforget.”
Jesus is the compassionate one. He sees addicted sinners caught in sin, and he looks with loving-kindness and grace upon such little devils. He has no interest in treating us as our sins deserve. He is long-suffering. Great is his mercy and compassion.
Jesus is the self-sacrificing one. Graciously he comes to the earth he created. Humbly he adds a human nature to the divine. Obediently he lives, keeps the law, and accrues all the righteousness needed for his family. Valiantly, he takes up his cross and receives the condemnation and damnation of the Jews, the Romans, and his Holy Father. He substitutes himself for hellions. He is the Lamb of God who gives himself as a sacrifice. Oh, how Jesus loves sinners.
Jesus is the risen, reigning, and all powerful one. He is alive, thriving, and lording over all. Today, he is the exalted King of kings and Lord of all lords. This includes presidents and potentates. This includes the Prince of Darkness. Jesus’ empire is entirely secure and ever-expanding. The gates of hell have no chance as slowly and decisively Christ and his church are plundering Satan’s household. There is no power sharing. There is no power struggle. Jesus is the Sovereign one in complete control of everything. He dominates his universe, and all he ever does is win.
Jesus is the always present, always watching, and always praying one. We are always on his heart, always in his prayers, and his all-seeing eye is always on our backs. Nothing happens apart from his awareness. All that happens to us is in accordance with his will. Not even a hair of our head can fall to the ground apart from the sovereign notice of the one who loves us most.
Jesus is the all wise one. Sometimes he is humiliating the devil and elevating his name. Sometimes he is drawing men to himself and building his church. Sometimes he is maturing us in his image. He doesn’t always explain, but everything he orchestrates and allows is always best. We just have to trust the heart of the one who gave himself as the sacrifice for all our sins.
Jesus is the holy, wrathful, protective, vindicating, and violent one. Someday, he will make everything right. All sin that has not been judged will be judged. Satan and all antichrists will be targeted, arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted, sentenced, and executed. All will be thrown into hell; this will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, all will be eternally consumed, justice will be accomplished, and only righteousness will remain.
Jesus is the returning groom. For some, God is only transcendent, fearful, unsafe, unable to be approached, and one who cannot be looked upon. But this is not the case for those who are betrothed to the Lord. We have been redeemed, freshly washed, perfumed, and clothed in his righteousness. We are pure, white, spotless, radiant, and blameless. He has called to be with him. He has commanded us to come near him. Intimately, he plans on sharing life with us. We are his beloved. We are the apple of his eye, and he is coming our way. He has prepared his city. He has built our house. The wedding banquet is ready to go, and the bridal chamber is ahead. The New Heavens and New Earth are over the horizon. Paradise awaits. Christian believer, this is the only hell we will ever experience, and then comes glory. What a glorious day it will be when we see Jesus face to face!
Jesus is the promise making and promise keeping one. He always speaks the truth, and he always does what he says. Jesus never makes a promise and waffles. He never give his word and backs out of his commitment. Every word is his oath. He is a covenant making and covenant keeping God.
Jesus is the eternally immutable or unchangeable one. As he was in the beginning, and as he presents himself in Scripture, and as he has been described above, is as he will be forevermore. He never altars, morphs, improves, or changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Friends, this is not a fairy tell. This is reality. This is true truth. This is who Jesus really is. But now, back to the question of the day, “Who do we say is Jesus Christ?”
Sure, I know we have heard all the right answers. Most of us have been hearing them since our days in Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, and Communicant’s Class.
Yes, I know we have all believed the right answers in our heads and hearts. There have been days when we have really believed that which we have sung.
And absolutely, we have proclaimed the right answers over and over again. As we took our tests in our Christians schools, met with our elders to become members of our local churches, stated our doctrinal confessions, witnessed to our family and friends, and argued with the cultists, we have boldly proclaimed the right answer which we have firmly believed — Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
But in our day of trial and tribulation, what do we say right now? What do we say today as we suffer from sin, scars, sickness, loneliness, abandonment, abuse, divorce, poverty, injustice, opposition, persecution, pain, and death?
Struggling friends, who exactly is Jesus? Have we forgotten that which we have learned, believed, and professed? Have we “unremembered?” Is it time to “unforget?” I think it is.