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Who is Jesus to you?

We begin a NEW sermon series entitled “Tough Questions Jesus Asked”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Beverley Sills.

Sermon Notes

It’s the start of a new series, and this morning, we are kicking off with perhaps the most important question from Jesus concerning his nature and position. Every major religion accepts and even teaches that Jesus was either a prophet, a good teacher or a good man at the very least. Jesus used a prelude question to set up a more important question to his disciples about his identity.

2000+ years later, People are still faced with the question

People worldwide are still grappling with the question of Jesus’ identity. Was Jesus just a good man who lived and died, but the resurrection was just a farce? Was Jesus just a mere prophet used by God to do his bidding? Or was Jesus an imposter sent by the devil himself? There is a plethora of opinions about Jesus. However, Simon Peter understood Jesus as The Christ, the living God’s Son. Peter’s response would pave the way for the church to be built on the revelation of who Jesus is, the true and only Messiah and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)

Throughout our lifetimes, we often pose various questions to God about life, our struggles, and so much more. The tables have turned this morning, and Jesus has a question for us. How will we respond?

The Situation
– A case of mistaken identity (Matt 16:13-14)

  • Caesarea Philippi was located several miles north of the Sea of Galilee. The region was ruled by Herod’s son, Phillip.
  • The influence of Greek and Roman culture was everywhere, with pagan temples and idols within the region.
  • Jesus used a prelude question to gauge the opinions of those in the region. What did they think about the person of Jesus Christ?
  • In our context, many are still grappling with the identity of Jesus Christ, and many mistake Jesus for something else.

Challenge – John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah and other prophets were all revered and respected. However, none of the above could claim to be God and the anointed messiah. Jesus Christ Is more than just a prophet; He is one with The Father and The Holy Spirit. (John 14:9)

The Complication
– There are no piggybacks allowed (v15)

  • After the initial warm-up question, Jesus digs deeper into the heart of the matter.
  • People can help us by sharing Christ and inviting us to learn more about Him, but each one must come to their own response to Jesus’ identity.
  • We are not Christians because our parents were devout believers. We are Christians based on our personal response to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
  • See Romans 10:10-11
  • The answer to the question is more than just verbal; it’s active through our witness and walk with Christ.

Challenge – Public opinion may be useful for many things in life, but Jesus is interested in our personal response to His good news. How we live our lives each day offers a witness to the love of God through Jesus Christ.

The Resolution
– We need more than human intellect to answer the question (v16-17)

  • Peter answered with assurance and boldness that Jesus is the true Messiah = Anointed One & Son of the living God (linking Jesus’ divine nature)
  • Jesus explained that understanding his identity is only made possible through divine revelation. Flesh and blood could not reveal such wisdom.

Challenge – As we share Christ with people, we must pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to open their hearts to His light. Intellect and eloquence of speech are not enough. The role and work of the Holy Spirit is vital in evangelism.

The Celebration – Nothing can stand against the church of Jesus Christ

  • In response to Peter’s answer, Jesus promised to build His church where people would join by faith in His death, burial and resurrection.
  • The keys symbolise access – we have access to heaven because of Jesus.
  • Verse 20 – Jesus orders the disciples to refrain from telling people because he did not want to cause a huge disruption before the appointed time of his crucifixion.
  • We don’t have to hold back on sharing the answer to the question in our generation. Jesus is Lord; we can share this message with boldness and love.

Challenge – The majority attending this service would have already answered the question of Jesus’ identity and made Confession of faith. However, if you are here today and you’ve never answered the question for yourself, today is a wonderful opportunity to respond like Simon Peter, that Jesus is truly The Christ and Son of the living God.

Questions for further study

  1. Make a list of the people mentioned when Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” What do they have in common?
  2. Who do the people say the Son of Man is? List a few examples of popular opinions and even obscure ones about their opinions of Jesus.
  3. In what ways does Matt 16:13-20 refute the popular notion that Jesus was just a good teacher, prophet or good example?
  4. During the sermon, the point was made of the importance of The Holy Spirit, not just human intellect, in understanding the Gospel. Discuss the role of the Holy Spirit in your conversion to Christ.
  5. Discuss the dangers of piggybacking on someone else’s faith in Jesus Christ, for, some may suggest they are a Christian because their parents were Christian or because they live in a Christian country, etc. 
  6. Jesus often instructed his disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ (16:20). Why? What excuses do we use as to why we do not tell people that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God?

Service Details

Sermon Title: Who is Jesus to you?
Bible Reading: Matthew 16:13-20
Preacher: Nathan Gordon
Worship Leader: Beverley Sills

Service Audio here Apologies but there is a problem with the sound part-way through the sermon.

View Service Video here Apologies but there is a problem with the sound part-way through the sermon.

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