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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Who Do You Say They Say Jesus Is?

Matthew 16:13-16 (ESV) 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

If Jesus only wanted to know who His disciples believed He was, wouldn't He have asked them without asking what they believed others thought He was? Why ask who do people say He was?

I believe that sometimes you have to know that you are going beyond what others say. You have to realize that others are not intentionally mean but that they are wrong. If that question was asked of me today I believe I would say that some think that Jesus never existed. Others think that He is merely a good teacher. Still others think that He existed but much of what is said of Him are myths made up from similar things that He might have said. I would say that true believers know Him as the One who takes away the sins of the world; the Son of the Living God.

Most of the people believers encounter have no vendettas against Christ. They believe very casually that He is someone who lived but does not truly change lives. They think that most of the followers whose lives center around Christ have some mental or emotional need which causes them to do so. They don't want someone like Jesus who will change what they believe. They want to live and let live. They want to go with the flow of society in claiming what society says is wrong and right.

The believer needs to know that this is what he is wading into each day. He must know that his beliefs are not the same as the populace. Many of them will think that he is strange. Some will ostracize him. Some will ridicule. A few will listen politely. Most are bored with what he has to say.

Sometimes we need to ask who do the people at our workplaces say Jesus is? Who do the people in our families say Jesus is? Then, we need to ask who we say that Jesus is. Knowing the difference changes our whole perspective of what we will say to them. Knowing the difference defines what they will say to us.

I have found that many Christians never ask themselves this question. They would rather say that their friends, families, co-workers and acquaintances all believe as they do. They want to believe that everyone is going to heaven. This way everyone goes along to get along.

Yes, we have to co-exist but we do not have to give up our convictions to be cordial to each other. We need to recognize that many people who call themselves Christians may only think they are Christians. It isn't what you call yourself that counts. It is what you believe. You have to answer what you think they believe so you can lovingly tell them of who Jesus is.

So, who do you say they say Jesus is?

2 comments: said...

I have this impression: Many (not saying all) in the developed countries, those with advanced Science and Technology, and so, included the people in many Western countries, they do NOT really believe in God. Perhaps, their forefathers did believe in God, but many in the current generation, do NOT. People in less developed countries, they believe in god or gods or deities, although NOT necessarily the God. Methodology may differ in how people in different settings can be reached for God, but it is likely the people who do NOT believe in God, who would think that we who believe in God have some mental or emotional need that we cannot handle; in other words, such think that we are weaklings; not of the selects who are able to handle everything that life throws at us; like that said to a man, “You are NOT macho or you are lesser than a man”. God, to them, becomes what we latch on, to cope with life. To them, it is “insane” to think that God exists or if He exists, that He would be bothered with caring for each and every individual; at most, they believe we are left to cope on our own. Or if they can believe there is God, that would be the unfathomable God who is unpredictable; and such a One, they don’t want to approach; kinda NOT worth all the time and energy. Some would, but only after they are really desperate, like knowing they are dying.

But seriously, I admit I need God.
Seriously, I admit I chose God.
And seriously, I admit I struggle to know God.
But still I would NOT trade Him away.

I admit I have on-going and incoming needs I cannot handle, and so, I need God. I don’t know if I am perfectly healthy today; I don’t know if I am to be well tomorrow, despite I take care of my health; I don’t know if the food I take in, daily at the eatery near my place of work, is all of good stuff, good for the body, or they contain any harmful elements to my body. I don’t know if my boss, the owner, would ask me to leave, despite I do my work and have the interest of the Company at heart; I don’t know if my boss, the owner, would get sick, and decide to sell off, the business; I don’t know if one of my colleagues would stab me in the back. Who can guarantee our spouse won’t divorce us, or guarantee the safety of our loved ones; children died on the road, even in Singapore, for example. There are so many things I do NOT know the head or the tail about what will happen next, and even if I know it, I am NOT always able to cope with it, like it will NOT affect me a single bit. For an older man like me, I have had my fair share of life’s knocks – break-up, rejected, prolonged unemployment, unconfirmed after probation period at work, cheated of money, loss of money, misunderstood, back-stabbed, etc, etc. I am NOT the smartest of men, but how many smartest man is there; one, but I am NOT the one. How many wicked people are there; many, and I sure have faced some of them. I cannot handle all of these, without fumbling, I admit. And I chose God over men to help me to handle my needs. I am NOT saying I refused and will refuse men’s help, or that I do NOT need men’s help; for God’s help does come through men; but I look NOT to men, but to God; I try to.

Cont... said...

COnt. from above

Is there something wrong with my mind or with our minds? I agree with the Word that I need to be renewed of mind (Rom 12:2). The ways of the Kingdom of God and the same of the world are different; we obviously need a renewal of mind to subscribe to the ways of God, even though we are still in the world. Upon salvation, Jesus said, we are no longer of the world, (although we are still in the world); if we want to continue to be NOT of the world, we have to have our mind renewed, on an on-going basis. The Word and the mind of the Spirit are our source of knowledge of the ways of God, and I turn to both, but I admit I still struggle to know God well. Of course, I struggle, and believe all of us, will have some struggle with it, for Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours. God would NOT give us the Word and the Spirit, if He desires NOT we to know Him; so, please get to know Him, even when He cannot be fully known.

Who do I say my God is? He is God, first of all, and so, He is almighty, there is none like Him; He is all wisdom, there is none wiser than Him; and all things are possible by Him. He is also holiness first of all, and so, He is righteousness and He is just. He loves me and gave His Son to die for me when I am yet a sinner; by grace He saves me. Jesus, the Son of God, is my Saviour and my Lord. The Word said the Lord is faithful; I believe it. I tell my soul, it must hope, have faith, and love. My God did NOT promise me a life of a bed of roses, but He did promise to be with me to the end of time (Matt 28:20). Do you know that when you are one of His, He is never far from you, even in your times of affliction? The Lord once showed me a beautiful vision of this.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions