Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.”
Matthew 16:13-20 NLT
My Thoughts: In my last blog we asked ourselves an important question:
“… would we really believe that Jesus is who he says he is even if we witnessed a miracle?”
With or without the benefit of a miracle, Jesus now takes our relationship with him to an even deeper level. He wonders if we know what the people around us say about him. Many thought Jesus was a prophet or a prophet who was raised from the dead. I myself have heard people say that Jesus is nothing more than a prophet.
In spite of the disciples response to his first question Jesus ignores what they tell him and asks what I believe is the single most important question any of us will ever answer:
“But who do you say I am?”
The first time I ever heard about Jesus was when I was seven years old at Vacation Bible School. Unfortunately, although a teacher’s comment was meant to be sweet and encouraging it wasn’t true. That remark hurt me and made me believe that Jesus didn’t like me or my family. During that week of study I learned enough truth about Jesus that I believed in him, I was just mad at him for about 40 years! (Details are in my July 2018 blog titled “The Power of Words” part 1 and part 2.)
I think when children have a misunderstanding about Jesus it is especially heartbreaking for our LORD. I can say that during those angry years Jesus never stopped trying to present himself properly to me and he was always gentle. My refusal to accept those truths was not a reflection of Jesus it was simply evidence of my sin of stubbornness, something that continues to be a struggle for me.
Overall, it’s an important reminder to all of us that we need to be careful what we say.
On the flip side, when a child is properly introduced to Jesus they often express a clear, yet simple understanding about who He is and how much they love Him. That child is oftentimes the very reason their parents come to know and love Jesus too. I’m pretty sure I can say with confidence this brings joy to the Lord!
I think the reason so many adults struggle today with Jesus is we make the answer to our question way too complicated. The late Billy Graham knew even the most educated and knowledgeable man/woman really only needed to understand the basics about who Jesus is and what He represents to gain the ultimate prize: salvation which results in everlasting life. His messages reflected the simplicity of Peter’s words in our verses:
Who do you say I am: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
What Peter gained when he understood the answer: Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Because Peter and the disciples walked with Jesus they came to know and love Him, and most important they knew He was the Messiah. Today our belief is based on faith, the words left for us in the Bible, or shared with us by other believers. Some of my favorite verses that express who Jesus is to me are:
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 NLT
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
“All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.” 1 John 4:15 NLT
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NLT
The reason I love these verses so much is they validate what I believe about Jesus. They tell me Jesus is the Son of God, He died for my sins so that I can have salvation, God raised Him from the dead three days later, and He made this sacrifice because He loves me.
Although, there is nothing complicated about these truths, we like to make things complicated, especially when it comes to love. We attach all kinds of strings to love. “I’ll love you if…..” or “If you love me you will…” we fill in the “dots” with all sorts of conditions. But because of His perfect love, God asked his perfect son, Jesus, to die for all sinners, because of His love for us; there were no conditions, no fill in the blanks, no dots.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 NLT
There isn’t a single person in this world that deserves the love of God because there isn’t a single day that goes by that we don’t sin! So why should I be so quick to set conditions on my love when Jesus freely gave His unconditionally?
Recently I was faced with a difficult situation and I knew my best response was little or no response until I took it to the LORD first. His reply was quick: ‘Amazing Grace.’
Immediately that song began to flow through my mind:
Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, But now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see!
I didn’t need to go beyond the first verse of this iconic song before I completely understood what the Lord was telling me!
- Cecilia, it hasn’t been that long since you were a wretched unsaved sinner.
- You once were lost on roads that led to one depraved sin after another, but I came and found you and rescued you.
- You once were blind to your sins! You were even ridiculous enough to believe you had gone days without sinning at one time [see previous blog].
Oh my, my, my. Gently and lovingly again my Lord reminded me that I am and continue to be a sinner but through it all, he saved me and he forgives me.
What hit me the hardest were the words ‘now I see.’ I know perfectly well when I sin because Jesus has given me eyes to see, however, someone who remains blind cannot see at all. That’s when my love and grace should kick in and be extended to those who are blind, just like Jesus did for me.
A few years ago, I felt a tug in my heart to extend an invitation to those I love to join me and my husband for the upcoming Easter service. Most declined, but to my surprise one said they would love to go then added this:
I don’t mind going to church for Easter or Christmas because I see it as my get out of hell free card.
Beloved, there truly is only one way to get out of hell free and it is through Jesus Christ! Going to church, being good, helping your fellow man or any other act that you perform will not save you from an eternity in hell, only salvation through Jesus Christ will give you everlasting life.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NLT
I pray that something in my blog today has tugged at your heart and helped you understand that having a relationship with Jesus Christ is a lot simpler that you may have originally thought. I pray that you ask yourself today:
“Who do I say Jesus Christ is?”
The time to keep quiet about Jesus has gone! As a believer the last thing Jesus said to us before he left the world was this:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NLT
I pray with all my heart that your answer is you have a desire to surrender your heart and life to Jesus today! If that is true, would you pray this with me?
- Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I need forgiveness for my sins.
- Please forgive me.
- Lord, I believe in my heart that you are the son of God, born of a virgin, and you died on the cross for my sins.
- I believe that after three days you were raised from the dead and you now sit at the right hand of God.
- Father thank you for the free gift of your forgiveness through Jesus Christ so that I now have everlasting life with you and the family of believers. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God and to everlasting life! I pray that you will join a Bible believing church and surround yourself with like-minded believers to help you as you learn to develop a relationship with Jesus.
Closing Prayer: Father God, thank you for the words and the courage to write this special message today and I pray that hearts are changed for the Kingdom of God. My soul hears the sound of a clock ticking and the pendulum swinging which says “the time is near” for your return. I pray earnestly that all believers extend the hand of grace so that many more come to know You. Father we are Your witnesses and Warriors and with Your almighty strength and courage may we confidently share this message with those who are blind. Let it be so. Amen.