The Most Important Question
May 8, 2022
This week we read Matthew 10-20. We see he continued with his healings and teaching to the crowds and the disciples. We are going to discuss Matthew 16:13-17.
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” The replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others says Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied,
Let’s look at each verse and discuss.
First, they were in a region of Caesarea Philippi. He was teaching his disciples alone. There were no large crowds around.
He then asked them who others “say the Son of Man is?” He did not ask them this question because he did not know. He asked the question to get them thinking. He then called himself the “Son of Man.” Other places in the Bible he is called the Son of God. Why does he call himself this?
John Piper says, “He was a son of man, that is, a human being. And he is the Son of God, in that he has always existed as the Eternally Begotten One who comes forth from the Father forever. He always has, and he always will. He is the Second Person of the Trinity with all of the divine nature fully in him.
He is born of a virgin. He had a human father but he didn’t have sex with this virgin until Jesus was conceived. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary. Thus he is human—fully human. The Bible wants to emphasize that he is fully human.
So that’s the common understanding: he is both divine and he is human—two natures, one person.”
Jesus may also may referring to what Daniel 7 says. Daniel 7:13-14 says, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
The disciples then answered that people thought he was:
- John the Baptist: why would they think this? In Matthew 14:2, Herod said, “and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” So anyone who heard Herod talking about this, may have felt the same way.
- Elijah: People felt he might be Elijah because he did many miracles like Elijah and because of what was written in Malachi 4:6-7, “5 See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
- Jeremiah: Jesus wept and Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet.
Then Jesus asked the disciples their thoughts about who he was. Peter answered right away, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus called himself “Son of Man” and Peter said he was the Messiah (which means anointed one), and Son of God.
The disciples spent every day with Jesus. They watched him “walk the walk’ and “talk the talk.” They knew his character. They saw him perform miracles. They saw his Truth. Because of this intimacy with Jesus, they truly knew who he was. Others had not spent that kind of time with him, so, while they thought favorably about him (prophet, John the Baptist), they did not know him that well.
The same is true for us today. The more time we spend with Jesus, (through reading scripture, prayer, and worship), the more we know Him. We see his Deity.
Peter’s answer is also the answer of the Christian faith. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Who is Jesus to you? The answer to this question has eternal consequence.
I challenge you to get to know Him better.
Next week we will finish the book of Matthew and read 21-28. Have a blessed week.