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“Who Do You Say I Am?”

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Cross Radio
May 14, 2022 4:00 am

“Who Do You Say I Am?”

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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May 14, 2022 4:00 am

Jesus is given many names throughout the Bible. But on Truth For Life Weekend, Alistair Begg takes a closer look at Jesus’ question “Who do you say I am?” Discover why this intensely personal question marks the turning point in all the Gospel records.


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There are many names and titles given to Jesus throughout the Bible today on Truth for Life.

We can will consider the question Jesus asked who do you say I am will discover why this intensely personal question marks the turning point in all of the gospel records Alastair Begg continues his investigation of seven questions God asks Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi on the way he asked them who do people say I am, they replied, some say John the Baptist others say Elijah, and still others one of the prophets. But what about you he asked who do you say I am Peter answered. You are the Christ.

Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him that is the reading from Mark chapter 8.

You can also read the parallel passage in Matthew 16 are in Luke chapter 9. It is covered variously between the three sections but all affirming the same truth.

If you want to read the Gospel of Mark. You can probably do it in less than two hours and it will repay your reading and when you do, it will become very apparent to you that when people came in contact with Jesus of Nazareth. Their reaction to them was seldom if ever the kind of reaction that is customary today, namely the reaction of polite neutrality, an actual fight when you read the gospel.

Mark and the others, you find that Jesus inspired devotion and people people were prepared to die for the things that Jesus said he inspired fear in people. They were awestruck by his words and by his deeds, and they recoiled from him and in certain instances, and increasingly towards the end of his life. He inspired hatred and people so they loved him, they feared him. They hated him but it's hard to find anybody saying I'm fairly neutral on the subject when they consider the words that he spoke on the deeds that he did. They were full of wonder and one of the wonderful accounts of them for friends letting a sick man down through the roof of a house and Jesus speaking on that occasion to this man and pronouncing the forgiveness of his sins. The cry went up can forgive sins but God alone.

What is this Galilean carpenter doing saying, your sins are forgiven, Galilean carpenter, for goodness sake, you can say a number of things, but only God can say, your sins are forgiven. Who is he now.

It is the same Jesus who inspired those kind of questions and still does today. People are honest, who then if you like turns the tables on this occasion on his disciples and he asks essentially one question. Although he opposes it twice. The first one is who do people say that I am who do people say I have exactly what he say what's the word on the street. The disciples moved amongst the crowd, they mingled in the marketplace. Jesus did too, but they would be the kind of individuals who would be picking up the sort of things that were being said and so they report to Jesus and essentially these were saying that everybody has pretty well reach the same conclusion about your Jesus.

They think that your profit some of the people are suggesting that your John the Baptist. Others have a notion of you as a kind of reappearance of Elijah and others really haven't got anybody they can tie you to but they recognize that there is in your words. The note of eternal reality and in your deeds, that is something that is so striking that they cannot dismiss it out of hand. Now you see it's not surprising, it may surprise ours but is not surprising when you understand where these people were coming from because in the Old Testament, and many of them would have been brought up with the Old Testament in the Old Testament, the prophets were always pointing forward. Isaiah points forward to the one who will come without knowing really who the one is the same is true elsewhere Peter when he writes his first letter says the prophets were like men standing on their tiptoes looking as it were, down through the corridors of time to see what the fulfillment of their words would be, and as a result of that, the people who ran the prophets grew up with the notion that somehow or another the Messiah would one day come and he would establish God's kingdom and he would put matters right on one occasion early on in Nazareth which is where Jesus grew up he went back around the age of 30 he went back to his local synagogue and he had the occasion of reading the Scriptures when he read a portion from the prophetic Scriptures concerning the Messiah who is going to come who would give sight to the blind and would heal the lame and would deal with the misfortunes of men and women finish the reading. He sat down and everybody looked at him because he had sat down in the position of the teacher is the most striking thing. He said today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. He said I am. I am the one who give sight to the blind, brings peace and reconciliation. He was the lame unstopped staff years people of course were amazed. But when they began to process all of that information. Still, they couldn't get to the right conclusion and so their answer was a good answer with an understandable answer, but it was an answer that fell for fall short of what the right answer really wants the popular opinion was if you like respectful. It was close but not close enough so Jesus as well. Then, let me ask the question a second time. Thank you for letting me know what the people on the street are saying but let me ask you, and Disciples in the eyes and he says to them, what about you who do you say I am very personal question is when we get we can have a discussion here about what the sort of consensus view is at Parkside we could take a survey from section 1 section 2 section 3 and put together the better the answers and find out whether communal view is that would be of interest. But the real issue is this question is asked from Christ himself addressed to you as an individual and to me in such a way that it would be as if there wasn't another single person in the room who do you say I am is the question Jesus is asking now. This is actually the turning point is the watershed and all of the gospel records here in Mark chapter 8. Everything shifts after this all that Jesus does after this is in direct relationship to the answer that is not about to be given.

If you know your Bible and all you will be surprised that the one who steps up and says I know the answer to that is none other than Peter himself infuriating kind of character mechanic shop at school who always was the first one up with the answer. I know how to do that or I'll have a go at that.

Or please may I do that real pain in the neck to the rest of the disciples on many occasions you may be just like him.

I may be just like him.

I don't know but Peter speaks for more than himself when he says you are the Christ in Matthews record, Peter said you are the Christ, the son of the living God, the son of the living God is just.

If you like a qualifying phrase to say you are the Christ is to use a Greek word for Messiah to use a word for the anointed one. And again, the Old Testament picture was of the Lord's anointed. God had anointed kings in the anointed judges and yet anointed prophets and there were the representatives, and the spokesman, but they were always pointing forward to finally the one who would come. Who would be the Messiah who would be the Christ, who would be the very anointed one of God. The word actually means I deliver and what Peter is declaring here is remarkable. He is saying to Jesus, you are that one.

You are the one concerning whom the prophets have spoken. You are the one who is the focus of all the ages. Now it becomes quickly clear that he didn't fully understand the totality of what he was saying but he knew enough to answer.

In this way.

Well, you say, depending on your view of the New Testament. Why would we be surprised by this. After all, we would expect somebody to answer. In this way otherwise ruin of a proper New Testament that the people who wrote the New Testament wrote from a biased perspective.

The activity had an agenda they wanted to get the message across. They pose the question, and they have the person to stand up and give the answer and so Peter stands up."

The partyline. It was in the partyline James was a partyline for a Jewish boy for a Jewish fisherman who had grown up in the evening hours with his father and his mother lying on his bed with him and saying no.

Peter, before you go to sleep tonight. Let's go over it one more time here oh Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God will and so he would've gone through and he would've grown up all of his tiny life without reverberating in his mind the truth of monotheism, the oneness of God. There is one God and one God alone and that was what was at the very core of his conviction. So for him to answer. In this way was the very last thing that you would ever expect from his lips. Indeed his confession at this point is a breakthrough moment of monumental proportions, staggering statement and unlikely statement statement that no man than nor no man or woman now will ever make. Except as a result of the same disclosure that Peter enjoy and how he reached this conclusion.

What did he have to go on while he had the first eight and I have chapters of Mark's Gospel of Eli. He had he had the material to this point he had the encounters with Jesus. He had seen these events he been part and parcel of his journeys. He inherited his teaching. Essentially what he had was the information that you and I have this evening and it was this material which suddenly if you like formed up in the mind of Peter and Jesus. Later on, explains to him. He says you know you didn't come about this statement, Peter, because you're smarter because of your capacity for logical and rational thinking, but you have come about this declaration, Peter, because God the father has actually written view this to you so that the spirit of God was taking the word of God as Jesus had both spoken it and performed it and bringing it to the mind of this man in such a way that he declares the Messiah ship of Jesus, the Bible, my friends, this is the claim. The Bible provides all the truth. We require to make this same declaration Bible record contains all the truth we require. If you will examine the Scriptures with an open mind with a seeking heart, then God is pleased to convince people's mind's by the truth of his word, so that those who do not believe may come to declare that Jesus is Messiah, God. Now the question that we've addressed is as ice pointed out to you a personal one, the person next to you cannot answer for you when the New Testament addresses the issue of knowing Jesus. It's always on the level of personal discovery. It's never about the passing on of a report that is been learned from other people. And when we look at this question and think about it in relationship to ourselves. We need to do so in light of the warning that followed a Peter statement. Jesus then warned them not to tell anyone about how strange is that you have a Messiah who is cleared and as soon as the declaration of his Messiah ship is made known, says don't let the message out. Don't let anyone know. Don't tell anyone who I how can you start a movement. If you're not going to let the word out. What are you doing while he was doing what needed to be done because the expectations on the part of the population were directly related to the overthrow the Roman authorities were directly related to triumph and to glory and to the overarching wonders of God's kingdom and what Jesus had come to do in the first instance was very different from the answer.

The last thing in the world that he needed was a big advertising campaign where people began to rush out onto the streets of Jerusalem declaring the Messiah is here.

The Romans will be overthrown. That's why this is not really within our our framework, but let me I have to mention it because the context demands it. That is why Jesus then immediately began to teach his disciples that he, the Son of Man must suffer many things be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law that he must be killed. And after three days rise again and the Peter who just made a great declaration is the Peter who takes Jesus aside and remonstrate with them is on the weekend of any of that Jesus. We don't want that for Messiah ship. We don't want that for a kingdom.

We won't glory. We want power. We want Majesty, we, one might Jesus says no, my kingdom comes along the lines of rejection, humiliation and shame. Indeed, if you want to be my disciple, you better be prepared for rejection, humiliation and shame on this of course was to be the rest of the journey the disciples once this declaration had been made were then going to have to try and figure out how the rest of the pieces of the puzzle dying Jesus fitted into his Messiah ship we were going to have to wrestle with the question that you may have thought of it. God in his love, as the Bible says longs to forgive sinners longs to enjoy friendship with those who have turned their backs on him if in his love, he longs to do that. And yet at the same time. If in his justice he cannot ignore our rebellion and our sins and they have to be punished. How then can he displayed his love and execute his justice that if you like is the great question and the answer to that is in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, that at the cross, Jesus is an emblem of the father's love and Jesus is the one who bears the father's raw if he were simply to excuse sin are limited, all of he would not be true to himself in the perfection of his holiness. Therefore sin must be punished because of the magnanimous unbounded nature of his forgiving lot.

He executes his justice on his son so that those who deserve that judgment may find in that son their forgiveness and his love in their life, then it becomes very wonderful. Who do you say that I owe you our Christ. You are the Messiah, you are the one who hears our punishments. You are the one who expresses your love the invites us to come and take our place beneath his crops. Do you know what the Bible says about this little talk tonight and what I'm forced to believe about this talk that somehow in the mystery of God's purposes, God speaks by his spirit through his word and through my lips so that God makes his appeal to you tonight through lives of a mortal preaching giving talks like this. Speaking to people in this way, expecting that there would be a life-changing response in anyone is almost completely bizarre when you think about having preaching talks like this are not just difficult the task is not just challenging, it is impossible, it is impossible. There is no possibility of me being able to marshal the English language to produce or good reason thought to urge upon you by the end of personality or any form of influence. Anything that can do one solitary thing in your heart and mind to cause you to declare with Peter. All I know you are no Christ. You are the son of the living God. But here's the mystery God by his spirit deems to take one more tool's mouth so that the salvation of one man depends on the voice of another.

So when I say I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to be reconciled to God. I do.

I don't know you will. But I know that any kind of company like this has skeptics in God is able for all your skepticism any company like this has a significant representation of sexual promiscuity and people whose life's are held in the grip of stuff that they long to be freed from God is able for all of a company like this tonight has a significant number of individuals who are frankly self-righteous and who in listening to what is being said are already marshaling arguments against the prodding word of a loving God and the company like this tonight has people in it who are tyrannized by their sordid past and their consciences drive virtually insane. I'm here in the Majesty of Jesus here in the cross of Christ is the answer to all of that. So my word to you, which is the word of God to each of us is cast yourself up on him, and bow your knee before his crops declare with a faltering tongue but her tongue. Nevertheless, you are the Christ, the son of the living God, and remember, no one else can answer for you. He asks you who do you say that I am have you answered that question for yourself. If you have if you decided that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God. Have you considered the implications of that statement for your own life listing to Alastair big on Truth for Life weekend. If you are uncertain about how you would answer Jesus question.

Who do you say I am, we have a short video we posted on our website that I think effectively explains the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and what that means for your life.

You can watch the video by searching Truth for story and when you visit Truth for Be sure to check out the book were recommending today.

It's titled women and God hard questions. Beautiful truth as you read this book, you'll be taken on a journey through biblical history to better understand how and why God made women get a better understanding of God's unchanging love for women and the role they play in his plan for all of humanity. This is the last week and will be offering this book, women and God. You can find out more about the book when you visit our website Truth for Life.Bob Lapine thanks for listening.

The Old Testament says Christ will be called the Prince of peace, but in the New Testament, Jesus says he came not to bring peace but division is he contradicting himself, sure to join us next weekend to find out the Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living