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Who Do You Say I Am?


INTRODUCTION:  In the scripture today Jesus asks two timeless questions:  Who does the world say I am?  Who do you say I am?  Now these are the ultimate questions of Christian faith.  This passage in fact is the half way point and the first climax of the book of Mark…after this passage Jesus sets His face to Jerusalem and the cross.  (Beauty of Mark.)

Who does the world say I am?  The question was asked in the shadow of Caesarea Phillipi…Caesarea…Caesarville…Jesus is in the shadow of Caesarville…Caesar…the Roman emperor’s called themselves gods…who does the world say I am?  Oh maybe John the Baptist, he was quite popular, maybe Elijah the great prophet, or one of the other prophets.  Who do you say I am…Peter the great confession, thou art the Christ….this is the first known proclamation of Jesus as the Christ. 

In the world today, who does the world say I am…the world responds with the same kind of political correctness, maybe a great teacher, a moral man, maybe even a prophet.  And we are called as the Church to respond with Peter…to cry out thou art the Christ. 

The other day I met a man who lives in a suburb of Detroit…he lives in the county with the largest Muslim population in the U.S.  And he is a Christian peacemaker…so he has peacemaking conferences with the Muslim community.  He spoke of how the meetings start…they are led by himself and a Muslim…ammon…religious leader.  So he stands up and says to the Ammon…Jesus is the Christ, He is Lord….and I look forward to the day when you recognize that and get baptized.  Then the Muslim leader responds…and I believe there is no God like Allah and Mohammed …is his prophet.  And then they say, until that day how do we live together…and they talk about what we have in common…an important thing to be doing.  We need to respect each other, we need to listen to one another and see how we can learn from one another…we need to be diplomatic.  In the process we also need to never stop confessing…Thou art the Christ.

  1.  THOU ARE THE CHRIST!  But what does that mean?  The Greek Christ means the anointed one and in the Hebrew it means…the anointed one.  How does that help?  Most of the time I use the mantra from Paul in Romans…if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart…Jesus is Lord…that confession is a head thing and a heart thing.  Confession that Jesus Christ is Lord is an intellectual assent.  And there are intellectual reasons for believing in Jesus Christ.  When you confess Christ as your Lord you do not have to leave your head behind.  History is deeply, profoundly shaped by Christian faith.  Oh there are those who like to point out that Christianity at times held back scientists for example…and that is true, it is also true that many of the early scientists were monks.  History has been profoundly shaped by faith….Now there are arguments for…and against believing in God….and you do not convert people simply by winning them over with rational arguments…but it is important that neither do you have to check your brain at the door to be a Christian.  If intellectual agreement was all that is necessary you would have intellectual assent, not Christian faith.

    When you say, thou art the Christ with your heart and your head…then you are saved.  When you say thou art the Christ and experience awe and wonder in your life…head and heart…When you come to Christ and “get it” you have a growing desire to know more of Him, to learn more about Him…you wish to become more like Him…you realize that not only that God is God, but that you are not God…you learn to need God in your life. 

    THOU ART THE CHRIST…and that truth motivates you and you wish for Christ to become more and more real in your life.  When you get it in your heart you experience His love in your life…and you learn to love Him back.  Now Christ wishes to dominate your life, to dominate the desires of your heart.  He wishes to crowd out the anger in your heart, the demand to always get your way, He wishes to heal the hurts in your heart…He wishes to block out your worries…

    He wishes for you to have a new heart.  This happens when you confess and belive, it happens more completely as you learn more and experience more of Jesus Christ.

    One of the reason I love the gospels is that they each tell the story of Jesus, but each one gives us a different angle…it is like pictures of the same guy from different angles. 

    Mark:  presents Jesus as the true revolutionary…as the one who can bind the strong man…the one who will confront the powers and principalities of this age…Mark presents Jesus as a Man of action…and you will never truly understand the depth and power of Jesus Christ until you understand the cross.

    Matthew shows us the Jewish side of Jesus…He is the new Moses…he is the new law giver…the law of love…Just as the law had five books there are five divisions in Matthew…and there are more quotes of the O.T. than the other gospels…it is also beautiful that Matthew tells us of the wise men coming from another country to worship Him as well…and that gospel ends with the wonderful commission…as you go through life…go to all nations and make disciples.. baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them all things and I will be with you always…to the end of the age…

    Luke…well Luke is the great gospel of compassion…I think that every chapter in Luke contains teachings on the compassion of Jesus Christ…and Luke gives us the parable of the prodigal son…and the story of the good Samaritan…

    And then there is John…and the wonderful explanations of being born again…John gives us the mystical side of Jesus more than the others…John teaches us more about prayer than the other gospels…

    Who do you say I am?  Thou art the Christ…and that begins the great journey of knowing Jesus and learning more and more to love Him and grow in your knowledge and awareness of Him.

    THOU ART THE CHRIST….What does that mean to you?


  2.  THOU ART THE CHRIST.  What does that mean? 

    Peter cries out thou art the Christ…and in Matthew Jesus respond, blessed are you Simon, Son of Jonah, that was not revealed to you by man…I will call you Peter…on this testimony I will build my Church…Jesus goes on to talk about how He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer and die…the theology of this is true.

    Mark:  thou art the Christ…How does Jesus respond?  Tell no one.   Now that is one command that some Christians have followed…they have accepted Christ and told no one…is that what it means?  The Messianic Secret…it is a theme that runs through Mark…it is a literary device in Mark.  Not going to spend much time on this…lets just say his is Jesus’ Austin Powers sketch:  Peter says thou art the Christ…be silent Peter…Peter starts to talk…zip it…zip…tell no one.

    What’s going on?  Jesus next teaches that He would suffer and be rejected by the religious leaders and crucified, which meant He would be rejected also by the Romans…He would encounter the powers of this age and He would be crucified…but on the third day He would rise again…and in this last half of Mark three times He speaks of the coming suffering and death.  Peter…and Church…until we experience Christ’s love and grace for us through the cross we will only get a glimpse…only a glimmer of what THOU ART THE CHRIST means.

    Jesus suffered on the cross for me.  Jesus loves me so much He was willing to die for me..Peter until you have experienced my arrest, until you have given up on your own power and strength, until you have fled, until you heard I died on the cross…until you get it that I did this for you Peter, until you get it that I did this for you Church…you really don’t know what it means to call me the Christ, to call me the anointed one.

    This love, this grace changes you…at least it can.  Life changes and you learn it is not just about you.  It changes you in a couple of ways.  It gives you a sense of security that you never had before.  God loves you…the cross is a statement of love.  God’s love on the cross tells us how much God loves you.  There is a great security, not because of what you have done to deserve grace, there is a great security…Christ has paid it all.  Now you might think I will be a better person because now I love Jesus, there is some truth to that but you still are not getting it, you are not going to be good enough…

    LISTEN…in Christ you learn to love Jesus…and that loves can get you beyond thinking that all of life is about you…it no longer is about you…deny self, take up cross…follow me.

    I have a dear friend who will say, we all wish to be justified…we all wish to think ok about ourselves….and that is true…we all need to feel ok about ourselves…but when the love of Jesus Christ really gets down into your D N A you feel secure in Him…you feel loved by Him…you know that sometimes you will be right and sometimes, not so right…but in Christ you are loved …and that love will give you the security to look at your life and be changed…you will be willing to take up your cross and follow. 

    When you lose self in Christ…beyond the need even to be justified…you are accepted by the Lord…empowers you to let go…to get beyond yourself…to get over yourself…to learn to wake up in the morning and truly experience the awe and wonder of being alive and being His child…discover the awe and wonder of life in Christ !                  THOU ART THE CHRIST.



Do you get what that means in your life?

People who get it have their lives turned upside down.  People who get it enter into the great adventure of faith.

Peter got it…he became a leader of the Church…Peter got it…some people call Mark’s gospel Peter’s gospel…they believe that Mark was written by John Mark of the N.T. and Peter mentored him.  That is early Church tradition…don’t know for sure…we do know that Peter was changed by Jesus Christ…

Peter followed him…even when not popular…also taught that Peter also was crucified…but requested to be put on the cross upside down, because he was not worthy to die in the same manner as his lord…

Peter experienced the saving life changing presence of Christ.

Take up your cross and deny yourself



This world needs people who are sold out for Jesus.






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