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1. Who Do You Say That I Am?

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Towards the end of Jesus’ ministry, he asked his disciples two critical questions while they were at Caesarea Philippi. This event marked the beginning of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem.

  1. “Who do people say that the son of man is?” (Mt 16:13; cf. Mk 8:27; Lk 9:18)
  2. “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15; Mk 8:29; Lk 9:20)

These are relevant questions, as the context of Matthew 16 tells us that Jesus was warning the disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Apparently, there had been a lot of false teaching going on about Jesus at that time. The same is true today in the 21st Century.

  1. The first question Jesus asked was more of an information kind as to what the crowd was currently saying about Jesus. What was the popular opinion of Jesus? Notice that Jesus specifically used the title “son of man” in phrasing his question.
  2. The second question was more direct and distinctly personal. No titles were used here. The disciples needed to come to terms on their own regarding the person of Jesus.

What answers would you give Jesus if he asked you these two questions today?

  1. To answer the first question, the popular opinion in Christian circles today is that Jesus is God, the divine Savior. He is the begotten son of God who came to die on the cross for the sins of the world so that we can have eternal life. Jesus is the second member of the triune God, God the Son.
  2. As for the second question (Who do you say that I am?), most Christians have never answered this question. Isn’t this strange? We have done a lot of Bible studies on how Peter answered this question, but that is Peter’s answer. Have you realized that you have never really answered this question? Jesus’ question is directed to you. What is your answer to him?

Let’s look at the Gospel account to see how the disciples answered Jesus’ two questions:

  1. Some say that Jesus is John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets. (Mt 16:14)
  2. Peter’s answer is: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt 16:16)

Note that the public opinion of Jesus varies, whereas Peter’s confession of Jesus is true to the core as the revelation comes from the Father. (Mt 16:17)

In the backdrop of all the confusion and false teachings about Jesus, Peter’s proclamation is an important statement of faith – Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This event marks the turning point for Jesus, as from thereon, he starts foretelling his suffering, death and resurrection. This incident is recorded in all 3 Synoptic Gospels (Mt 16:13-20; Mk 8:27-30; Lk 9:18-21).

We have heard many sermons on this passage of Peter’s confession of faith. In my time, I have preached and led many Bible studies on this passage to different groups. There is an important application of this passage that all Christians must face regarding their own faith: Who is Jesus?

What is your answer? Who is Jesus? This chapter is going to be short because I want you to pause to answer Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?” Is your answer going to be based on the popular opinion of the Nicene creed that Jesus is God? Or is your answer going to be like Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God? If so, what does it mean to you that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?

You need to come up with your own conviction to examine where your faith is built upon. Most Christians build their faith on “an idea of Jesus” from what others tell them, or what the churches tell them, or even what the apostle Peter tells them. This is not good enough as all this is just head knowledge. You must come to have faith in Jesus as to who he is from a first-hand experience. You need to personally answer this question with full conviction of who Jesus is to you. Do not quote others. What is the Father revealing to you regarding the identity of Jesus? Write to me and let me know your answer. [1]

From A Pastor’s Heart

In graduate school, I took a few courses on Christology as I wanted to understand more about the person Jesus and his life. To my surprise, I discovered that a lot of academic debates have been going on to grapple with the greatest puzzle of modern Biblical scholarship – the question of the “real Jesus.” Today, lots of historical research is going on by Catholic priests, scholars, historians, and theologians regarding the Jesus of Nazareth who lived in the 1st Century era. Most evangelical churches remain silent on this topic because of adhering to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed that is deeply rooted in their Church constitutions. Any pastor doubting the deity of Jesus will be written off as a heretic. For this reason, I, too, fell into this trap in not wanting to touch on this sensitive topic. Who wants to sound like a skeptic in doubting the deity of Jesus?

While this topic is silent in the churches, there has been an ever-growing maze of literature on Jesus in the last twenty years – more than ever before! As a result, the study of Jesus has gained an incredible amount of attention in Biblical scholarship today, to the point that reading all of them would take a lifetime. This just shows how crucial this topic is so that people can come to grips with the true identity of Jesus.

It is time for you to write your short thesis regarding Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?” You must seriously examine and re-evaluate whether your faith in Jesus is founded in the Bible alone. While we need to keep abreast of the myriad research projects that have been done in current biblical scholarship, we also need to come to our own conclusion in our quest to answer Jesus’ question: Who do you say that I am?

Your answer to this question must come with deep conviction with revelation from God just as it did for Peter. Academic studies will give you information. Spiritual revelation comes from God and not from theology. “Who do you say that I am?” You need to answer Jesus. No one else can do it for you. When it comes to this central question, no substitutes will do.

More than 2000 years ago, Paul warned about people who would come and preach “another Jesus” (2Cor 11:4). Evidently, some in the apostle’s day had already, and so soon, fallen into the trap of the enemy by believing in “another Jesus.” If we so love Jesus, let us do some hard work to examine whether our faith is in “this Jesus” that was preached by the early apostles (Acts 1:11; 2:32; 4:11; 17:3).

[1] I can be contacted at via this email address:



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