The only question that matters
Text: Matthew 16:13-20
Here at the end of Jesus Christ’s public ministry, the LORD asks the only question that matters – who is He? Everything that’s been done has been to publicly proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. Peter’s confession is based on divine revelation. And there will be blessings associated with this faith in Jesus Christ.
What Peter said had been revealed by God throughout the scriptures in the Old Testament. The prophets prophesied of Christ. The psalms talked about Christ. The law was a schoolmaster to bring Israelites to Christ. Malachi prophesied of the messenger John the Baptist to prepare the way of the LORD and so John the Baptist comes saying, Repentance toward God and trust Jesus Christ. John the Baptist says, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. John the Baptist said, He must increase and I must decrease. That Jesus Christ is the Son of God was clear and here at the conclusion of Christ’s public ministry it’s almost like He gathers the disciples and says, OK, has it been proven to you sufficiently that I am the Son of the living God?
Public belief about Jesus Christ (vss 13-14)
- Compare the many opinions about the identity of Christ. Some say prophet, some say Elijah, or Jeremiah, or John the Baptist, or some other prophet.
- C.S. Lewis famously reasoned that a man who made the claims Jesus made is either a lunatic, a liar, or the LORD himself. He doesn’t give people the option of thinking he was a good teacher or moral man.
- The public perception of Jesus Christ is wrong. Choosing the crowd, choosing the culture, choosing public opinion won’t make you safe from God, and it won’t make you loved by God either.
Personal belief about Jesus Christ (vss 15-16)
- These men have travelled with Jesus Christ for 3 years. They have given up everything. They’ve walked away from jobs to follow Christ. They’ve left their homes and devoted all of their days and weeks to the service of God. Yet all this sacrifice and all this service comes down to this question – who am I to you?
- Some of us, who haven’t done near what these disciples did in giving their lives to the LORD, would be absolutely disgusted that Jesus Christ would have the audacity to ask a question like that. But Jesus Christ asks the question.
- Without a doubt He’d ask you the same question.
- You haven’t given anything up for Jesus Christ, other than things you thought you didn’t need.
- You’ve never given up a job for Jesus Christ. You’ve chosen work over Jesus Christ every time.
- You’d never give up a home for Jesus Christ. In fact, if a football game is on, you wouldn’t even step out of your home for Jesus Christ, some of you.
- The reality is as long as Jesus Christ isn’t in the way of my life, I choose Jesus, but when it comes to my life’s wants and ambitions, I choose me.
- If Jesus Christ would ask this question to men who’ve sacrificed what they have, no doubt He’s coming to you this morning asking, Who do you say I am? Who am I to you when the football game is on? Who am I to you when there is money to be made over there? Who am I to you when your children get in relationships that don’t honor me? Who am I to you?
- Apparently you can be around Jesus Christ for a long time, you can sacrifice everything, you can participate in the work of the LORD and still not respond in faith to who Jesus Christ is.
Blessings associated with this faith (vs 17)
- Requirement of faith (vs 17)
- Just because it was revealed doesn’t mean it was believed. That Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God was revealed to many people who didn’t accept it.
- Faith may become sight, but sight doesn’t mean faith.
- Faith is necessary because you have to accept God’s account and God’s record.
- Jesus Christ says this information originated with the Father in Heaven.
- All of God’s blessings will come by the faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.
- Galatians 3:22
The only foundation is Jesus Christ (vs 18)
- Christ’s true church is Christ’s own body. There are churches that are gatherings in Christ’s name such as the church at Corinth, but these local gatherings are made up of saved and unsaved people. The true church is the body of Christ.
- It is literally Christ’s body according to Colossians 1:18.
- 1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
- The LORD Jesus Christ says He’s the Rock and the only way anyone will be connected to the Rock and set on the foundation is by virtue of what they believe about Jesus Christ.
The only access to God’s blessings is Jesus Christ (vs 19)
- Jesus Christ is access to heavenly blessings. Ephesians 1:3 …all spiritual blessings … in Christ: Jesus Christ is the location of all of God’s blessings.
- The point of this is that the ones who know who the LORD Jesus Christ is and acknowledge who he is, these are the people who have access to heavenly blessings.
- There won’t be any heavenly blessings associated with a football game over Jesus Christ.
- There won’t be any heavenly blessings associated with choosing a bigger payday over Jesus Christ.
- There aren’t any heavenly blessings associated with choosing drugs over Jesus Christ.
- There won’t be any heavenly blessings when you choose a relationship over Jesus Christ.
- Whatever you put ahead of Jesus Christ, then whatever temporary reward you get from that will be your reward, but God won’t have anything to do with it because all His blessings are wrapped up in Jesus Christ.
- Matthew 18:15-20-wherever Jesus Christ is, that’s where the blessings of the Father are.
Completion of Christ’s public ministry (vs 20)
- This marks the end of Christ’s public ministry before the cross. This is the last question he asks. Everything that’s been said in the Old Testament scriptures, everything Jesus Christ has done to this point in his 3 ½ year ministry has been to get people to believe that Jesus Chrst is the Son of the living God. (Remember what Philip asks the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:36-38?)
- Christ ends His public ministry. He tells the disciples that the next thing to happen will be the crucifixion and resurrection. And now the true followers will be weeded out.
- Notice also verses 24 and following. Public ministry is over, if anyone wants to follow me now let him come after me, deny himself, take up his cross, then follow me.
- Satan’s ministry was to get Jesus Christ to avoid the cross.
- Satan’s ministry is to get people who claim the name of Jesus to avoid their cross.