Thursday, July 10, 2014
Jesus Is Messiah
“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)
Jesus traveled west to the Roman port of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast. The disciples had been in contact with a lot of people, and Jesus asked who the people thought he was. Some were like Herod and thought he was a reincarnation of John the Baptist. Others thought he was Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the other prophets come back to life.
Jesus then asked the most important question, who the disciples thought he was. Peter answered without hesitation, that he was the Messiah, God’s own son.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:17-18)
Jesus said Simon Peter was blessed because he had heard when god stated that Jesus was his son at Jesus’ baptism, and had believed the miracles Jesus did when others did not. It was God who had caused him to understand and believe. Hence forth he would be known as Peter or Petros, the small rock. Christ’s church would be built on Petra, the huge outcropping of rock and the gates of hell would never win against it. Romans 9:33 and 1Corinthians 10:4 make it clear the church is founded on Christ, not on Peter. Peter is a little rock alongside Christ.
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)
Just as a father might give his keys to his son to unlock the house as a special privilege, Jesus would allow Peter to unlock the door to the kingdom. Peter exercised that privilege on the day of Pentecost, explaining how people could be saved in Acts 2. He exercised it again when he opened the door for the Gentiles in Acts 10.
Everyone who entered in through faith in that message would be saved and those who rejected it would be lost. Jesus is in no way saying that Peter or the church were authorized to decide who could be saved.
“Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” (Matthew 16:20)
Jesus forbade his disciples to tell people he was the Messiah. He had a great deal to teach them and the Pharisees and Sadducees would seize any such claim to attack him, creating a distraction that would hamper their learning. It was essential the disciples be fully trained before he ascended into heaven.
“From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23)
Once the disciples were sure Jesus was the Messiah, he began to teach them about his impending persecution and crucifixion. Peter rebelled at the thought, insisting that could not be allowed to happen. He still didn’t understand that salvation was not possible without Christ dying on the cross. Jesus rebuked Peter, pointing out that his attitude was Satanic, placing human logic and emotions ahead of God’s plan.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
For a person to be a Christian, it is necessary he give up his own ideas and plans, and concentrate on what Christ demands even though they are not popular with those around. To insist on having things one own way will prevent one from being saved. The earthly benefits of having things your way will not amount to much if it costs eternity in hell, no matter how much one gets on earth. The world has the attitude that the man who dies with the most toys wins, but the reality is he died. His toys will no longer have value to him.
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:27-28)
The Lord will return, and when he does every person will be rewarded according to what they have done. Some of the disciples would not die until the Lord’s return. After the crucifixion, when Jesus was questioning his love, peter attempted to divert attention by asking what John would do, in John 21:20-23. “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
“Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
The disciples clearly believed it was John who would remain until Christ’s return, although John was less sure that is what he meant.