Kathy Bernard - Publisher


HOW would you respond today if Jesus asked, "Who do you say that I am?"

SOME people who do not follow the teachings of Christ might reply, “He was a great man, some would say He was a great teacher, and yet others would declare Him a great prophet.  It is easy to concede this basic logic. But it is His crucifixion and ultimate resurrection and what it signifies that would get in the way and this is where Christians and non-Christians may part ways.  

FOR us who believe, it is the death and the resurrection of our Lord that is the pivotal point and central importance of our truth.  No other can claim it but Jesus Christ.  His power has not diminished but continues to gain momentum even these years later.  With all the soothsayers during the time of Christ, the magicians, the fake messiahs, the fortunetellers and the like fall fatally short before the miracles, the healings, and the sacrifice on the cross; a powerful testimony to the Deity of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. 

TO those who dismiss Him as just a holy man beyond the norm of that day, my contention would be to unequivocally say if this is all He was, He was the greatest scam artist in history.  If this is all He was about, then He was a sham, and the biggest liar to hit the face of this earth.

LOOK back to over 2,000 years ago.   Along came Jesus Who came to earth willingly, the son of a carpenter.  A one-man army sent by Almighty God.  He was to change the whole face of the earth.   Keep in mind what Jesus taught was a radical confrontation to the religious establishment of that time.  Not only did He interpret the old law, He established new guidelines. He claimed to be the Savior, the Messiah that they had been waiting for through the ages.  People were appalled and insulted because Jesus was not what they expected the Messiah to be and the fervor grew to alarming proportions.  This man claimed to be the Son of God; yes, even God Himself when He said in John 14:10: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, Who is doing His work." Religious experts were incensed with indignity and thought this man was a dangerous lunatic.  

THE major uprising came when the leaders saw that people were paying attention to Him and not to their established theology.  He was upsetting everything they were teaching.  He was consistently delivering a simple but profoundly radical message to the people. 

WHO was this Person?  What is this worth to us today? 

TIME and again, Jesus clashed with judgmental, self-righteous, religious priests who had no real sense of Who Jesus really was.   Here was a Jew Who spoke of things that shocked and insulted the very core of Jewish beliefs. These experts, deeply versed in the Torah and faithful to the teaching of many generations, had centuries of tradition behind them.  They had the power to force nonconformists out of the temple. In essence, they ruled the Jewish authority without question, even under Roman occupation. 

THE advent of Jesus brought a new day and time and many became frightened at the intensity of His theology.  Some considered themselves righteous defenders of the old, yet a few recognized there was something, something to this man Jesus that they wanted to have; belief and faith in Someone Who knew and could read their hearts, Who healed the sick, made the blind see, spoke things they had not heard of before along with glorious promises of eternal life.  The upheaval was tremendous, causing even more fury because He claimed He could forgive sins, and that by believing in Him, people could get into heaven.  In the midst of this turmoil, Jesus explained to them in John  5:17  "Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them."

ONE day nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus and His disciples gathered close to the Jordan River, on the rocky slope of Mount Hermon near the region of Caesarea Philippi.  As our Savior stood looking at His disciples who surrounded Him,  He quietly asked them a very pointed question:  "Who do you say that I am?"

NOW clearly this was very challenging and even though they had heard Him preaching and performing miracles, they were uncomfortable and hesitant to answer because they had no definitions to qualify Him. They were simple people without the education we enjoy today.  Pondering this out loud they replied,   “Some say You are John the Baptist; others say Elijah; maybe Jeremiah. Or one of the prophets.”   They were perplexed and at a loss to understand and define exactly Who this person was truly all about. “But whom say you”?  He persisted. “Who do you say that I am"?  (Matt. 16:13-15) 

IT was Peter who moved boldly forward for he was compelled to speak out for the rest of the disciples.  Not knowing where his answer came from, he declared in a firm voice, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

HEARING Simon Peter confess him to be 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, 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…(Matthew 16: 16-19) With his words Peter had proclaimed the divine origin and nature of Jesus Christ.

TODAY we are constantly assailed with busy stuff; cell phones glued to an ear, speeding through traffic in high-powered cars to a multitude of destinations.  From our high tech jobs we come home to our high tech computers, HDD TVs, MP3’s and all the amenities designed to occupy every single minute of our time.  Once again we have no hours set aside to listen to God’s voice or even remember it is the Father Who has breathed life in us and allows us to get up each morning to run off to our self appointed tasks.  By the time we crawl into bed at night, we float away on a cloud of exhaustion, never realizing there is a priority so vital we must act upon it right now, for this night we might be called into judgment.

BECAUSE of that great sacrifice that Jesus made by dying for us, He proved for all time His Divinity when He rose from the dead.  He has promised we too will, as Christians, rise again.  We do not have to pay our way to get in His precious presence for the ransom was paid for us by His blood on the cross those years ago.  He knew each of us even then and forgave us as His blood spilled forth. 

NO matter how tattered and torn you are by life, no matter how great your sins were in the past, if you believe in Jesus Christ, and ask for forgiveness, you are forgiven. All He asks is that you follow His teachings.  Stamped paid in full by Jesus Christ, you can look ahead to living the rest of your life in the newfound grace that He will bestow on you.

JESUS is impossible to ignore.  Theologians have tried and are still trying to break down the facts, one by one.  They have spent entire lifetimes trying to find loopholes to prove He is not the Messiah.  But that cross continues to be the greatest impediment in their search.  Maybe they cannot accept it but they definitely cannot get around it.   His resurrection is a final and insurmountable problem to them for it cannot be explained away.  Jesus is still the most aggressive and challenging figure throughout the world after all this time, a power to be reckoned with, a voice that whispers through our hearts if we listen. 

MANY years ago, the Pharisees asked Jesus "Are you the Son of God?" and He replied, "You are right in saying I am.  I tell you the truth. “Luke 22:70     "In John 8:58  “Jesus said, "Before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58.)  And so we have to ask ourselves again and again, through our doubts and uncertainties, was this man Who claimed to be the Son of God a liar?  Or was He truly the Christ Whom God declared in Matthew 17:5   “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.”  Jesus gave this claim lo those many years ago and it still flourishes, bright with supreme power and promise as it was yesterday, is today and will be forever.  

IF I accept that He is truly the Son of God then I must accept that through faith that I never need to worry or despair for with this belief I will be forgiven for my sins, receive the Holy Spirit, receive His endless mercy, receive salvation and one day enter the glorious kingdom of God.

FOR those floundering in a sea of doubt in this 21st Century, those waiting until the time is just right for them, Jesus is also patiently waiting, whispering  "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me (John 14:11).  And in our quiet moments He gently asks,  “Who do you say that I am?”


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