In our previous post we established that Salvation by Grace is the most widely recognized essential theology which every Christian needs to know. Now let us examine another essential theology which derives from the essential question the Master asks of His disciples, “Who do say that I am?”
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
The Lord asked this question during what has become known as His year of popularity. His teaching was unlike that of the other rabbis for He taught with authority and with many signs and wonders He had declared His gospel, but He asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
This is still a relevant question in society and often picked up by secular scholars when they discuss, “The Historical Jesus.” Some say He was a Teacher and He is to be our only Teacher. Some say He was a Healer and He is still healing people today. Some say He was a Philosopher and like Thomas Jefferson I concur that, “We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus, and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in his discourses.” But it does not matter in the least what others say about who the Son of Man was, for the essential question Jesus asked was and always will remain, “But who do say that I am?”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Peter’s great profession of faith is the rock on which Christ’s Bride Church is built upon, “You are the Christ (Anointed One, Messiah), the Son of the living God.” This heart knowledge that was revealed to Peter is not a mystery or something that a person can acquire through intellectual ascension. No this revealed Truth, this essential theology is freely given to those who seek Him and submit to Him as Lord of their lives. For it is only through believing Him to be The Lord of your life that He will become the Savior of your life.
There were and still are spiritual powers, entities and rulers who were and are all to aware that Jesus was and is the Christ, the Son of the living God, but that knowledge could not save them from their fate. From the beginning to the end of The Lord’s earthly ministry He was tempted, testified of and tried by these rulers of the darkness of this world.
And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.
But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Here we have all three rulers of the darkness. Satan the devil, the tempter, the prince and power of the air who knew the Truth, but would never acknowledge it. The fallen angels who are demons and know the Truth when they see it, but can not be redeemed through their profession of the Truth. And finally the religious leaders who knew the Truth, but who also knew that by admitting and accepting the Truth they risked the loss of their place and position in their nation, for they loved the praise of men rather than the praise of God.
Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.”
Sometimes we fail to appreciate the difficulty which those who had the Gospel proclaimed to them first faced. Their culture of legalism, separation from the Gentiles, religious practices and traditions made it difficult to accept the Truth when He came to them. The religious leaders risked the loss of status and wealth if they embraced the Truth and accepted Him as their Messiah. The inhabitants of Jerusalem risked financial ruin if the Temple system and its religious pilgrimages were replaced by a new dispensation of grace through Christ. The perceived loss of national, cultural and spiritual superiority over the Gentiles was just too great a price for most to pay.
I have often wondered if we here in the American Church would be able to sacrifice our national identity, our financial security and our sense of superiority by embracing the Truth as taught by The Lord and His disciples? When I ponder the question, “Who do you say that I am?” I also consider another important question the Master asks, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
So the question is really twofold, “Who do we say that Jesus is and why are we not doing what He has so clearly told us to do?” We often divide up the Body of Christ to such an extreme that we have become almost ineffective in proclaiming His essential truths and Good News. As Thomas Jefferson said, “We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus, and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in his discourses.” Do we see the simplicity of the Gospel and the basic moral instructions which He gave us and most importantly are we doing it? The danger of not doing what He has commanded us to do is great, for He warned us of the danger of being hearers of the Word only.
“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. “But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”
The key is coming to The Lord and acting on His Word, by digging deep onto His Word and laying our foundation on that Spiritual Rock which is Christ Jesus. Then when the storms of living in this age beat against us we will not be ruined, for He is our sure foundation the Rock of our salvation.
May the One God our Father, His Son Jesus the Christ and their Holy Spirit be with all who hear His words and act upon them. Amen.