WHO DO YOU SAY
THAT I AM?
Kathy Bernard - Publisher
HOW would you respond today if Jesus asked, "Who do you say that I
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.
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
He was consistently delivering a simple but profoundly radical message to the
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.
say you? He persisted. Who
do you say that I am"? (Matt.
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, MP3s and all the amenities designed to occupy every single
minute of our time. Once again we have no
hours set aside to listen to Gods 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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