rocks_15996cpPentecost 12 2017, Proper 16
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
August 27, 2017
Psalm 138:1-8, Isaiah 51:1-8, Romans 11:33-12:8, Matthew 16:13-20

 

Sermons online:
Text:                            pastorjud.org
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

 

Who is Jesus?

This has been a vexing question for 2,000 years.  Who is Jesus?  This has been a source great disagreement and confusion since that first Christmas in Bethlehem.  Who is Jesus?  This is the chief question for all eternity.  Who is Jesus?  This is the most important question for you.  The answer to this question makes all the difference.

Who is Jesus?  The answer to this question divides people.

Jehovah’s Witness say Jesus is the Archangel Michael.

Mormons see Jesus as someone who worked His way up to godhood.[1]

Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet.

Some modern Jews believe Jesus was a Jewish teacher others only hear the name only in association with persecution.

Most adherents to the New Age Movement believe that Jesus was a great enlightened teacher who realized that He was God, just like you can realize you are God.

Hindus believe that Jesus was one of many great and holy men. Many Hindus believe that Jesus was a good teacher and perhaps one of their 330 million avatars. An avatar is an incarnation of the impersonal, supreme being that Hindus believe fills the universe.

Buddhists believe that Jesus was an enlightened man. Do they believe He was God? No.[2]

Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?  This is the most important question for you.  The answer to this question makes all the difference.

“Matthew 16:13 (ESV) 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”[3]

Matthew 16:14 (ESV) 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”[4]

People heard about Jesus, but they thought that Jesus is just a prophet; or just a great teacher; or just an enlightened man.  This is not much different from what a lot of folks say about Jesus today.  But who is Jesus?

Matthew 16:15 (ESV) 15 [Jesus] said to [the disciples], “But who do you say that I am?”[5]

Who is Jesus?  Peter steps up with an answer speaking for the 12 disciples.  Matthew 16:16 (ESV) 16 … “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[6]

Who is Jesus?  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  Let’s say it together.  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  Jesus is not just a prophet.  He is not just a great teacher.  He is not just an enlightened man.  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Christ is the Greek version of the Hebrew title Messiah.  It means the anointed one; the chosen one.  Now Peter and the disciples don’t yet know all of what it means to be the Christ.  But they know that it means Jesus will do Christ work.  They know He will do the work of the anointed one of God.  But they do not fully understand.  When Jesus next tells them that He is going to be killed and rise again Peter refuses to accept this and rebukes Jesus.

How can suffering and dying be a part of the work of the Christ, the Son of the Living God?  When you think about Jesus being God in flesh it sounds like such a glorious thing; and it is, but God’s glory is not man’s glory.  Jesus glory is seen on the cross as He does the work He has been anointed to do.  Jesus takes into His flesh and blood the penalty for your sins so He can put into your flesh and blood His perfection and holiness.  Indeed, God’s ways are not your ways.

Jesus commends Peter for His confession of faith.  Matthew 16:17 (ESV) 17 …“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.[7]

This is not something Peter has worked out on his own with his own intellect.  This knowledge about who Jesus is; this faith in Jesus; is from God the Father.  Faith in Jesus is not a flesh and blood thing that you work out yourself by studying all the world religions and picking the one that makes sense.  Faith doesn’t come from you.  Faith in God comes from God through the Holy Spirit; through baptism; through the Word of God.  We should never boast about our faith because whatever faith we have is a gift from God.  We boast only in the cross of Christ.  Faith in Christ is beyond our flesh and blood existence and understanding.  Faith in Christ is from God.  Because Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus tells Peter and the disciples the significance of this confession.  Matthew 16:18 (ESV) 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.[8]

Jesus gives Simon the name Peter, Petros and on the rock, Petra, of his confession Jesus will build His church.  Jesus does not build the church on Peter.  Peter, like you and me, is a flawed, sinful person.  Jesus builds His church on the foundation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  We sing about Christ the Rock.  “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord.  On Christ, the solid Rock I stand.  Built on the Rock the church shall stand.”  Christ is the foundation of the Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  There will be tough times.  The devil and all His angels will continue to attack the Church.  There will be attacks from within and without.  There will be false teachers; false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing.  There will always be those trying to move the Church away from the foundation of Christ.  They can try.  They will cause great trouble, they will lead many astray, but they will not prevail.  The true Church of Jesus Christ will stand because it is built on the foundation of Jesus and Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And knowing this you are secure in Christ; you are safe in Christ, you do not need to be afraid of sin.  You do not need to be afraid to boldly confront the sin in your own life.  You do not need to be afraid to admit it; confess it; repent of it.  You do not need to be afraid to confess it out loud to the pastor if needed.  You do not need to be afraid to go to other sinful people with the great Good News of total forgiveness in the blood of Jesus.  Jesus’ forgiveness is for all people; even the most hardened sinner; even for you.  The devil loves to use your sin against you to accuse you but you do not need to be in terror of the devil.  You do not need to be afraid of sin, death and the devil because Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and you are baptized into Christ.  Jesus has made a promise to you in your baptism that you are His for all eternity.

Secret sins so much want to become your master, but you belong to Jesus.  You are in Christ, so remember that the sin that you keep buried in the deepest, darkest place in your soul does not own you.  You do not belong to sin; you belong to Jesus.  Your heart is full of the bedrock of sin inherited from Adam and yet you are part of Jesus’ church built on the rock of Christ.  Your faith does not come from your own flesh and blood but from God.  And yet God does not ignore your flesh and blood.  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  You have been baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection with water poured over your head.  You are fed with the very Body and Blood of Jesus which becomes part of you.

You have the Word of God coming into your ears and eyes.  You are a redeemed child of God and you dwell in the unknowable wisdom and mercy of God.  Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[9]

You can feel the forces of the world trying to shape and mold you so that you fit the ways of the world; pressuring you so that you give up on Jesus being the Christ and you look to the world for guidance.  They want you to build your house on the shifting sands of the worlds ever changing opinions.  The world desperately wants to control you.  Resist!  You do not belong to the world.  In daily prayer and devotion offer your flesh and blood as a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus as you live in love and service to others.  Live in the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ and do not conform your ways to the world’s ways, but rather be transformed by the will of God.  Do not let sin reign in your life.  Do what God wants you to do in all the various parts of your life because you know the answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”  Let’s say it together, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Amen.

 

[1] http://www.equip.org/perspectives/what-is-the-difference-between-the-mormon-jesus-and-the-jesus-of-the-bible/

[2] http://creationtoday.org/atheists-discuss-did-jesus-exist/

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[5]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[6]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[7]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[8]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[9]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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