Matthew 16:13-20 The Question Everyone Must Answer

Because of constant pressure from the religious leaders and because of the misguided thoughts of the Jewish People Jesus headed into Gentile territory and onto a mountain to escape them.

Who is the Son of Man?

This was a term for the Messiah that the people knew God Himself would come to earth. It was what they longed for and should have seen when Jesus was on earth.

Daniel 7:13-14 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

 

1)   Opinion:  Everyone has an opinion about Christ.

Some say John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the Prophets

The people thought Jesus was a great prophet or the one sent before the Messiah. They missed that it was John the Baptist who was like Elijah who was the one preparing the way for Jesus. Herod is one that thought Jesus was John the Baptist resurrected because he was paranoid and that paranoia probably spread to others.  Some thought Jesus was Elijah who was considered by some to be the supreme Old Testament Prophet because he prophesied by Malachi 4:5 that would come before the day of the Lord.

Everyone has an opinion about Jesus and for some Jesus was made to be a legend by His followers. He was a great prophet but all the miracles that Jesus did were just tales the people made up after Jesus was gone.

There has never been a person in History that everyone had to have an answer for other than Jesus. If you think about it no one ask the question about  George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Only Jesus Christ draws so much attention and opinion of the public.

Atheist have to do something with Jesus Christ because even though they do not believe in God they still have to acknowledge an amazing person named Jesus. They may diminish him by not acknowledging what Jesus did but that means they have to purposely ignore history and the historical writers of that day. If they are going to do that then they have to say many historical events did not happen if the writers could not be trusted to document the person of Jesus Christ.

Just like when Jesus was walking around groups of people had a conversation that went something like this. “I believe Jesus is…”

What other religions say about Jesus

Jehovah’s Witness: The Archangel Michael, became the Messiah at His baptism and became Michael again after His resurrection

Mormons: A Spiritual and physical offspring of God by procreation. Brother of Lucifer.

Scientology: A great teacher who fully realized his personal divinity as a “Clear”

Judaism: An important prophet, but not a divine Person. He did good things & taught the Golden Rule 

Hinduism For some Hindus, Jesus was an Avatar or incarnation of God – one among many Avatars; a great spiritual teacher, a guru. 

Buddhism: A teacher who may possess Buddha hood or Enlightenment. One among many, not unique. 

Islam: A major prophet, spirit of Allah (or God), without sin, but not divine; His miracles are signs that He came from God. 

New Age: Jesus was one of many appearances of God throughout the ages, one of many people who were fully aware of their true divinity. 

A Comparison of Religions can be found at http://www.soundchristian.com/chart.html

Much of the world has wanted to speak highly of Jesus without recognizing His deity. Jesus is accepted as a person but do not speak of Him as being the only way to God or God Himself in the flesh. Jesus did not leave room for debate about Himself and how people can get into Heaven.

To get into Heaven you have to be right with God, the owner of Heaven. To be right with God you have to be made righteous and the only way you can be made righteous is through what Jesus Christ did on the cross and by His resurrection.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

2)   Decision: Everyone has to make a decision about Christ.

Who do you say that I am?  The answer to that question determines your eternity according to Jesus.

When we have discussed Jesus in the past we have said that there is no room for Him to be a good prophet or great teacher if He is not also the Messiah. He did not leave room for anyone to have any doubts about what He thought He was and that was God in the flesh.

You are the Christ: Christ is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word for Messiah.

Son of the Living God: Son in the Bible represented oneness with the Father.

We do not fully understand that in our culture and this is where many westerners get confused because they believe Jesus was less than God. It took the disciples 2 ½ years to come to this conclusion that He was the long awaited Messiah because they still had the wrong concept of who Christ was. Many people today still have the wrong idea of who Jesus was because of false teaching or because they do not want to acknowledge who He really is.

Flesh and blood did not reveal that to you.

We have to be careful to not make the things of God about human endeavors. If you are searching for God then I would encourage you to cry out to Him for the truth. God has always been faithful to anyone who was truly seeking Him to make Himself known.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

2 Corinthians 4:4-5 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[a] for Jesus’ sake.

God is always the one who reveals truth and He has been pursuing us since the Garden of Eden. Make no mistake that God has made it clear that you can know Him. (Romans 1:20)

3)    Participation: we are called to be a part of what Christ is doing.

On This Rock I will build my church

Church: assembly of people meeting for a common purpose or called out ones. 

What is the Church ?

  New People of God or race of people (Galatians 6:15-16; Ephesians 3:10-11) 

 God’s Family (Ephesians 2:19-20; Romans 8:14-17)

Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:23; Romans 12:4-5) 

 Holy Temple of God (Ephesians 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 3:16)

Christ Bride (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Christ spokesman (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

We have a part to play in Gods pursuit of mankind and He uses us who already believe in Jesus Christ to tell others about who He is and what He has done for us.

Simon is now called Peter  because when Jesus changes us and makes us a whole new person.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  God Changed Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel and He changes us as well.

This shows a new status but also the name is the vision Jesus had for Peter. Peter was far from being a rock and in a few verses Jesus calls him Satan. Jesus always takes you were you are and He makes you into something new. It is not about where you are when you give your life to Christ it is always about the vision He has for you as He molds and shapes you  to be more like Him.

Peters name actually means little Rock or stone

Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was going to be one of the rocks in the kingdom building process. Many have made Peter the first Priest of the church but that is reading more into this passage than what is there. Jesus is our High Priest and we do not have to go to anyone else besides Him. (Hebrews 4:14-15)

1 Corinthians 3:11 says that the only foundation is Jesus Christ. All the apostles were part of the building but only Jesus was the foundation. (Ephesians 2:20) The Keys to the Kingdom that were given to Peter (Matthew 16:19) were also given to all the Apostles (Matthew 18:18).

Peter like all the other apostles, and all who come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, become a part of the building process. We are little rocks that are building up the temple of God. You may not feel like a rock or something that God can use but trust me God will use you in the kingdom building process.

Isaiah 51:1-2 Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,   you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn,  and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father  and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him.

Ephesians 2:19-21 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[a] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

See also 1 Corinthians 10:4

What we do today as we continue the work of Christ is like continuing to put down blocks or brick on the work that was done 2000 years ago.We build on what others have already done and others will come along and build on what we are doing. You may not be alive to see the finished project but Christ will show it to us in eternity.

1 Corinthians 3:5-15 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire

There are no side line Christians we are all called to carry the load with the gifts and abilities we have been given.

The promise Jesus makes to them is that His Church will be built. It is a personal promise that Jesus will see it through. The Church is also referred to as the Bride of Christ and so just like I will not allow anyone to talk about my Bride we need to be careful how we talk about Christ Bride, the Church.

The Gates of Hell will not prevail: The gates cannot hold those who have been set free.

The Cross of Christ paid for the sin we have done and the resurrection of Christ showed that death was defeated.

Gates are like prison gates that keep people from escaping.

Luke 4:17-19 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,  because he has anointed me  to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives  and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 A man born in prison may think we are locked out instead of him locked in because of his perspective on life. People are trapped behind Gates but they think we are even though we are free. It is the same as the Lion at the Zoo. The lion may think we are the ones locked out but in fact he is locked in. People that are imprisoned by their sin, look out through the bars and say how trapped we are in our religion and how restrictive Christianity is.

Romans 8:1-3 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh,

Romans 6:16-18 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[c] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

We have been set free but we still have restrictions the restrictions are not to go back to where we once were. That would be like the man set free from prison going back every night to be locked back in at night. Christians have always given up the things of the world but not because it is restrictive but because it is more freeing.

You restrict what you eat for the freedom of healthier living.

You restrict your spending for the freedom of living a debt free life.

So Christians do have restrictions but our restrictions lead us to more freeing lives. Anyone who gives their lives to Christ can rest assured that sin and death have been defeated and there is nothing hell can do about it. You can have power over your addictions and sin habits because Jesus Himself has promised us the freedom.

I will give you the keys to the kingdom: Keys represented authority (Isaiah 22:20-22, Revelation 3:7)

We are literally opening the door for others to experience Christ. Going back to our prison scenario, it would be like us going to the local prison and talking with someone and asking them if they want to be free. If they say yes we have the authority to unlock the bars and set them free. Sadly, many people are trapped into thinking they have to stay where they are and in the lifestyles they are living in.

Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.

This could have several meanings :

Loosen those who are trapped behind the gates of Hell or Bind them because they will not admit that the way they are living is wrong. (The Bible calls this repentance)

Church Discipline is another aspect of this because Jesus charged the Disciples with forgiving and rebuking others (John 20:23)

The church exists on earth with the power of heaven behind it to accomplish the building of Christ eternal Church.

The main focus of this passage, although all those things are part of it, has to do with people receiving salvation through Christ.  As a Church our main mission is to share about Jesus Christ because that is what will change people. Many Churches have strayed away from the main teachings of the Bible and the focus of Christ and by doing so have hurt the churches mission.

Closing:

Who do you say Jesus Is?

Have you been freed from the gates of Hell?

If so you have been called to be a part of the building of Christ church.

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