Who Do You Say I Am? (Matthew 16:13-15)

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Jesus has asked His disciples who people think He is. “They replied, “Some  say John the  Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?””

This is the question that is at the very heart of Matthew’s Gospel. Who do WE say Jesus is? 

To this point, Matthew has revealed Jesus as Messiah in a powerful way. He began with the evidence of Jesus’ birth, which started with the Abrahamic line and ended in the virgin birth at Bethlehem – a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:2. The heavenly star which guided the Magi to Herod became a matter of international record. Jesus’ early childhood in Egypt fulfilled Hosea 11:1, while the time of His birth sadly fulfilled Jeremiah 31:15. His younger years in Nazareth also affirmed the prophetic record. No preplanning by a criminal mastermind could’ve organized those details. They were divinely given and divinely fulfilled, quite apart from Jesus’ human will. 

And that is not all. Jesus’ prophetic preaching ministry in Galilee fulfilled Isaiah 9:1-2. His healing ministry fulfilled Isaiah 53:4. His reluctance to attract attention fulfilled Isaiah 42:1-4. His teaching in parables, Psalm 78:2. And all this prophetic fulfillment is apart from the evidences of His baptism, the actual miracles of healing and His divinely inspired moral teaching – which still is the very best planet earth has ever heard. 

Then there is the turning of water to wine, the calming of the storm, the walking on water, the raising of the dead and the casting out of the demonic, to the obvious great benefit of both the one rescued, their families and the surrounding townsfolk. Virtually every detail Matthew has given us about Jesus’ life and ministry shouts at us of His divine nature. The evidence so far has been overwhelming!

But evidence can only dictate a verdict where logic and common sense guide the way. The reality is that human beings are highly emotional – so much so that virtually every decision is at some level an emotional decision. This makes our decision-making ability highly personal: Our emotions, past memories and fallen thinking are all involved in addressing the matter at hand, in spite of the obviously objective nature of the question being asked. 

“Who is Jesus” is inseparable from “Who is Jesus to you?”

Ultimately, it is that question that must be asked of each of us. It is a personal question, but not a personal question asked for interest’s sake. It is a question that has the highest possible stakes. For if Jesus is not Messiah, then there is no salvation. If Jesus is not Healer, there is no hope. If Jesus is not Lord, there is no motive for holy living, and no chance His Spirit might fall upon us to enable such living. And if Jesus is not King, then we are all left to fend for ourselves. 

“Who do you say I am?”

You have only to look at the one asking the question to know the answer. 

The great assertion of the faith that sets a Christian apart from others is this: Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh.

Warren Wiersbe

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!