Who is Jesus is a question that has been debated and discussed
by philosophers and religions ever since Jesus first asked His disciples, Who do men say
that I am? At that time they answered, Some say John the Baptist;
some say, Elijah; and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets (Mt.16:15;Mk.8:27).
The disciples were presented the question that has stood echoing
down through all the ages. Their response was
the opinion of the people all around them, some say John the Baptist- John who came out of
the wilderness and was a fiery preacher proclaiming repentance. Yet he was pointing to the
Messiah who would come after him.
Herod being guilt ridden after he beheaded John thought that he
came back as Jesus. As it was believed in Judaism, that those who died as martyrs, should
rise again before others.
So the teaching was that he was an ancient prophet come back- as
some said Elijah. Elijah was a prophet, and a miracle worker who had nature obey him. The
people had watched Jesus do miracles in nature such as calming the sea and they had just
come from seeing him feed the 4,000 with few loaves and fish.
Malachis prophecy Behold, I will send you Elijah before the great and terrible
day of the Lord seemed to fit his ministry, so he was mistaken for Elijah.
adds to Marks shortened version, another opinion the people held is that he was Jeremiah.
Because he was broken, he was a man of sorrows despised and rejected by the very people he
came to save and he often cried for them. Although he filled people with joy he did not go
around the country mostly jubilant but saddened, even awed at times from their unbelief in
refusing to believe in who he claimed to be.
Another opinion, he was one of the prophets. This was the
more popular held notion since they did not know which one of the prophets he actually was.
They knew him to be a prophet because of his message of repentance.
Some had even identified him as the prophet that Moses foretold would come into the
world. Jn.6 then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did (that is feeding the
5 thousand) said, This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world. Therefore
when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king,
He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip
and said to him, Follow Me. Now Philip
was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip
found Nathanael and said to him, We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also
the prophets, wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
Philip brings Nathanael to Jesus, and as he sees him approaching saw said,
Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!
Nathanael said to Him, How do You know me? Jesus answered and said to him,
Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.
Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the
King of Israel!
Notice that Nathanael identifies Jesus as the prophet Moses foretold
and as the Messiah, Son of God and King of Israel. How did he know?
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and
the good. 2 Chron.16:8 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to
show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. So when Jesus
described his character and that he saw him before he was under the fig tree He was saying
I knew you even before you were born.
Today there are those who are claiming
Christianity who have a more confused and a far less truthful opinion of who Jesus is. To
some hes an angel, or only a man or just one in a procession of light bearers from the
different religions. Even though we have the Gospel testimonies and the teachings of the
epistles for over 1900 years have not shed more light on this person.
After all his miracles and teachings he now poses the same question
to his closest followers, he made it more personal.
He said to them, But who do you say that I am? Do you have a different or
better opinion of me? There seems to be little hesitance as Peter answered and said to Him,
You are the Christ (Mark 8:27-29). Matthews account adds the whole statement,
the Son of the living God. Marks gospel is known to be written
under Peters authorization. Peter neglects a number of important points of this
account with the questions Jesus asked the disciples. His full revelation of who Jesus is,
the commendation from Jesus, his name change, the giving of the keys to bind and loose.
They all should have known who he was after being with him for a
year and a half, but the disciples were not absolutely sure to what to say.
It took Peter acting impulsively as a spokesman for the
disciples to speak up, and in one of those rare times he was right. Peter was not afraid to speak up, he didnt know
he was right because it was a revelation from the Father at the time.
However, Peter was not the first to know he was the messiah, in John
1:40-49 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother after hearing John introduce Jesus as the lamb of God
finds his own brother Simon, and said to him, We have found the Messiah (which is
translated, the Christ). And he brought him to
Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall
be called Cephas (which is translated, A Stone). Here Peter at the outset has his
name changed by Jesus.
To the Jewish mindset of the day this declaration of being
the Son of the living God meant he was God,
Literally in Greek,
"of God the Living One (Adam Clarke's
Commentary), or in a simpler description "the eternal one". Now we need to see how the Bible records what the Son of God
means. The Pharisees were upset because of His claims, The Jews answered by our law He
ought to die, because He made himself the Son of God.(Jn.19:7) The Jews understood this as a
unique claim, it would not have any significance if it only meant he claimed to be a man.
They knew what he meant when he said I and my father are one in Jn.10:30. I realize there
is never enough sufficient proof for those who deny his true deity as in the same manner
there is never enough proof for an atheist who does not want to believe that God
exists. In Jn.10:33 the Pharisees react to his claim by saying because you being a man make
yourself to be God. They understood what He meant and picked up stones to kill him.
Jesus responds in v.36 do you say of Him who the Father set apart and sent into the
world, you are blaspheming, because I said I am the Son of God? Here Jesus
interprets what he meant when he said they are one, that he is the Son in deity and that
the Father sent him.
Pharisees had to deal with the same question of is identity except they knew who he was
claiming to be. Before his trial he is brought before the Pharisees and the high
priest said to Him I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the
Christ, the Son of God! Jesus said to him, It is as you said. (Matt
26:63-64) They already knew that He claimed He was deity but they wanted to hear it from
His own mouth to incriminate Him on blasphemy.
Take away this confession of truth, and the universal church
falls to the ground. If Christ is not the eternal Son of God, Christianity is just another
religion no better or worse than all that came before or afterwards. The unique claim of
Jesus as the son separates his personhood and his revelation from any of the prophets.
If this confession
is taken away from any church, it ceases being
a part of Christ's church.
Mt.16:17 Records Peter was blessed by Jesus saying, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Similarly, Paul was revealed the gospel in the same manner as he writes in Gal.1:12: For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. One needs a revelation from God to know who Jesus is and understand the gospel.
Jesus sees the Fathers approval on Peter as this revelation came
from him in heaven. So he blesses him, changes his name and promises to give him authority
to bind an loose (later it is given to all in Mt.18:18).
Matt 16:18-20: And I also say to you that you are Peter, and
on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against
it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on
earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
And after this Jesus instructed them to tell no one.
The rock was the confession of Peters revelation, this is why
he is commended. This is something the Father testified all through Christs ministry.
Sometimes it was audible as at the baptism and the transfiguration when the Father spoke
this is my beloved son and accompanied it by supernatural signs.
It was not Peter who was the rock for the
OT of which both he And Paul are using all agree on whom the rock is. Ps.18:31: For who
is our God except the Lord and who is our rock except our God. who is the church built on?
In 1 Cor.3:10 Paul claims to as a
master builder saying there is no other foundation that can be laid, which is Jesus
Christ. Christ is the one we build on
and if built on any other it will not endure the fire of testing our work. If anyones
work which he has built on endures, he will receive a reward(1 Cor.3:14).
the Old Testament the rock was synonymous with God 2
Sam 22:32: For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Ps. 62:2: He only is my
rock and my salvation Ps. 95:1: calls God, the Rock of our salvation
Moses was told by the Lord in Exod 17:6:
Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the
rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.
Paul using the OT example explains in 1
Cor. 10:4: and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock
that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
altars built in the OT were a type of the rock who was God. They were altars of offering
and sacrifice, The rock that was laid in Zion was the foundation stone and the Church was
built on this rock a offering and sacrifice. The Church is made of those who confess just
as Peter (through revelation) that he was the Son of the living God, meaning-God- the
savior. This is why they were told not to tell others what Peter had said, but to allow
others to come to this conclusion on their own.
and Maker of the church is Christ himself; as he states, I will build The Church
is a living temple which is a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit and we are temple made up
of living stones which He is building together. That the holy Spirit dwells within each
believer and the temple grows as more are added. Peter
writing to the Christians dispersed through the Roman provinces in Asia (1 Peter 1:1) in 1
Pt.2:5: You also as living stones are being
built up to a spiritual house (Greek-oikodomeisthe oikos pneumatikos).