Today's Reading - Matthew 16:13 - 17:27
Some questions to start with:
1. What are some qualities that group me together with other people? What are some things that set me apart?
2. When I think about Jesus, what are the top 3 things that come to mind? Are they true?
Son of Man. Son of the Living God. Messiah. These are the names that Jesus is called by in this passage. Names identify people. Names group us with some, and distinguish us from others. They exhibit our family lineage; imply a world-region; symbolize our potential, personalities, and so much more.
Who we say Jesus is, who we truly BELIEVE He is, determines our faith; however deep or shallow. Despite the amount of time the disciples spent with Jesus, and the numerous miracles they witnessed, even despite Jesus revealing what He would soon go through on the cross, at this point the disciples STILL struggled to make a decision on who He is.
“Son of Man,” the biological descendant of a human male. We can focus our attention on the use in Matthew 16:13 where Jesus refers to himself as “the Son of Man”. Jesus is asking, what do other people say about me, this physical man?
“Son of the Living God” is what Peter calls Jesus in Matthew 16:16. Jesus points out that no man told Peter to call Him this, but God Himself revealed it to him. This is a phrase that identifies Jesus’ holy nature, and until this point no man verbalized that Jesus was more than a man.
“Messiah” or Christ is also what Peter calls Jesus. “Christ” is not Jesus actual name, but a general term that we now solely use to describe Jesus (The Christ). This term, “Messiah,” literally means an anointed one; and the term could have been used for a great king, a military leader, or a spiritual leader of Israel. Peter is the first person to say it out loud AND identify Jesus solely as THE one.
Jesus already said that what flows out from the mouth reveals what lies within us. What do we need to grow our faith to size of a tiny mustard seed? What will it take for us to truly believe in the full identity of Jesus?
Ok, put down the Bible and go do it!