The Scriptorium

Who is Jesus?

It's the crucial question. Matthew 16.13-17

Matthew 16: Turning Point (3)

Pray Psalm 138.1-3.
I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.

Sing Psalm 138.1-3.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
I will give You thanks and praise You, God of gods, with all my heart.
I will bow before Your temple, grateful praise to You impart.
For Your Name and for Your glory, You have magnified Your Word!

Read Matthew 16.1-17; meditate on verses 13-17.

1. What were people saying about Jesus?

2. What did Peter say? How was he able to say that?

Everything about the Christian faith hangs on how we answer the question, “Who is Jesus?”

In His day, many people were talking about Him, and a variety of opinions were circulating concerning His identity. Jesus was about to make some big announcements (vv. 18, 21), so before He did, He wanted to make sure His disciples were clear about Him and His provenance.

Jesus colored the answer He was seeking by referring to Himself as the “Son of Man” in His question to the disciples. This would certainly have brought Daniel 7.13ff to their minds, and cued them for how they should answer. They had already acknowledged Him as the “Son of God” (Matt. 14.33), and Jesus seems to have wanted to firm up that belief and combine it with the Person in Daniel’s vision.

So He asked what people were saying about Him, and the disciples answered based on what they’d been hearing people say (v. 14). That many people had a high regard for Jesus was clear – considering Him to be either John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But a high regard for Jesus is not sufficient to know the blessing of God.

So Jesus asked the disciples about their understanding of His identity. Peter spoke for them all in saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The disciples at this point knew Jesus to be Son of Man and Son of God. This does not mean they understood this mystery perfectly, or that they were ready to put their full weight down on this conviction. But they were correct in seeing Jesus as He was revealing Himself, and as He intended He should be known.

They were “blessed” in so confessing (v. 17). But this understanding of Jesus is not something they had arrived at by their own cleverness or consensus. God the Father had revealed Jesus’ identity to them. Unless God Himself teaches us about Jesus, leads and enables us to know Him as Son of Man and Son of God, we will never have anything other than, at most, a high regard for Him. And we will not know the blessings of God until the disciples’ confession is our confession as well.

1. In our day, who do people say Jesus is?

2. What does it mean to say that Jesus is the Son of God and Son of Man?

3. Since people can only know and confess this when God reveals it to them, how should this guide our prayers for the people in our Personal Mission Field?

Note that he is not asking them their own opinion. Rather, he asks the opinion of the people. Why? In order to contrast the opinion of the people with the disciples answer to the question “But who do you say that I am?” In this way, by the manner of his inquiry, they might be drawn gradually to a more sublime notion and not fall into the same common view as that of the multitude. John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 54.1

Let my life today bear witness to You as both the Son of God and Son of Man, as I…

Pray Psalm 138.4-8.
Call upon the Lord for strength to serve Him today, and to be His witness in every area of your life.

Sing Psalm 138.4-8.
Psalm 138.4-8 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
On the day I called You answered, made me bold within my soul.
When I walk in troubled places, You revive and make me whole.
For Your hand will gently shield me, and my fearsome foes control.

All the kings of earth will praise You when Your words of truth they hear.
Of Your ways, of Your great glory, gladly they will loudly cheer.
For the proud shall not approach You, yet You hold the lowly dear.

Your Right Hand will save and keep me; all I need You will supply.
For Your love is everlasting, reaching from beyond the sky.

You will not forsake or leave me; You will save me when I cry.

T. M. Moore

We are pleased to offer Worship Guides for use in your family or small group. Each guide includes a complete service of worship, and they are free to download and share by clicking here. Our book, To Know Him, addresses the question of who Jesus is more completely. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore