Lesson 205-January 19, 2020
Lesson: “Who is this Jesus, Part I”
Scripture: Primary Passage: Matthew 16:13-15; Parallel Passage: Mark 8:27-29, Luke 9:18-20
Lesson Goal: To better understand who Jesus is and how this understanding becomes personal to each of us.
Introduction: We come today to a major turning point in the life and ministry of Jesus. We will soon find Jesus turning toward Calvary and teaching His disciples concerning the necessity of His death (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31). The focus in the disciples’ classroom of learning would shift to the reality and fact that Jesus had come to suffer and die. “While His death would be the manifestation of man’s bitter hatred to God, it was also to be the supreme expression of God’s love to man” (H. A. Ironside).
As the truth of Jesus as the Christ begins to sprout in the hearts and minds of His disciples (Matthew 16:13-20, Mark 8:27-30, Luke 9:18-21), they (disciples) will find the kind and type of His Messiahship challenging and difficult to grasp at times (Matthew 16:22-23, Mark 8:33). This road that will be marked by much suffering and even death, will be the same road that His disciples will travel (Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34-37). But death is not the final stop for Jesus, nor is it for His disciples. Death will be defeated and overcome by Jesus (Matthew 16:21c, Mark 8:31c).
It will take the disciples a little while before they can fully comprehend or appreciate Jesus’ words but they will eventually get there! They will understand the road of suffering, the sacrificial, substitutionary death and the resurrection (This Changes Everything) of Jesus the Christ!
Matthew 6:13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
Caesarea Philippi was located north of the Sea of Galilee at 1,147 feet above sea level. The background of the city would be Mt. Hermon with its twin snow covered peaks. The location of Caesarea Philippi had long been associated with idol and pagan worship. It was under Philip the tetrarch, who had received the “tetrarchy from Augustus, who changed the name of the near by town from Paneus (Pan) to Caesarea Philippi” in honor of the name sake (J. Phillips).
Daniel Akin points out, “Caesarea Philippi is an unlikely location for the first human proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah. It represents the outer regions of paganism, idolatry, and hostility to the Hebrew faith. As Jesus brought gradual physical sight to the blind man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26), He will now bring gradual spir-itual sight to the disciples concerning who He is and what kind of Messiah He will be.”
“Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” In verses 13 and 15 Jesus ask two questions to the disciples. The first question is posed in a general sense concerning what the disciples are hearing and being confronted with from the masses. The second question is very specific and direct as it is offered to the disciples for their own response.
(v14) So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“they said” – The disciples responded to Jesus’ question with the names of those that the people were identifying Jesus with.
“John the Baptist”
Question: Why might they identify Jesus with John the Baptist? (See Mark 6:14,16).
Question: Why would some people consider Him to be Elijah?
Question: Why Jeremiah?
“Jeremiah was the weeping prophet whose tender heart was broken at the sight of the decay of the nation. Certainly this attitude was seen in Jesus, the Man of sorrows” (Wiersbe).
Certainly that may be the other reasons for the afore mentioned names but found in each of them was a pro-phetic voice and a place in Jewish history.
“one of the other prophets”
The response of the people ran the gamut. “To the average person Jesus was one among many. Good but not the Best. Great but not the greatest. A prophet but not the Prophet. This view would never do. It condemned Him with faint praise. If He were only another man He was a fraud because He claimed to be equal with God the Father” (W. MacDonald).
The disciples had responded to Jesus first question. It was based on what they had heard and observed (It was somewhat the popular opinion poll of the day).****
(v15) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
For the disciples now the question turns from the popular poll of the day to a direct and personal question. Now it’s not about others but about you (disciples) personally.
Question: Why was the question so vitally important to the disciples?
Question: Why is the question just as important for each of us?
David Platt, “There were a lot of people in the first century who would have said they believed in Jesus. Some, for instance, believed He was Elijah, and others Jeremiah. Likewise there are a lot of people in the twenty-first century who would say they believe in Jesus. Approximately 85 percent of Americans say they believe Jesus was a true historical figure, and among that 85 percent, almost all of them (more than 9 out of 10 of them) believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead. But the more important question is, Who exactly is the Jesus you believe in? This is the crux of the issue. Who you say Jesus is will determine everything about how
follow Him. If you think Jesus was a good teacher, than you will follow Him like you would a good teacher. If you think Jesus merely had some good ideas, then you will listen to what He says every once in a while. If you think Jesus was a good example, then you will try to follow His example. However if you believe that Je-sus was and is the promised Messiah who came to the earth to save us from our sins, to conquer sin and death, and to reign and rule over all as Lord, then that changes everything about how you live.”
The question will always become personal “Who is this Jesus?” It must be answered personally! Do not let the popular polls of the day answer it for you!
“Who do you say that I am?”