Who Do You Say I Am?

For February 15, 2019
In Matthew 16, the Lord and His Twelve Disciples are in Galilee near Caesarea Philippi, where He asks: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

Their responses were varied: “Some say you are John the Baptist; others say Elijah; while others say you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Not concerned with public opinion. Jesus asks a question that is far more pertinent and personal: “But what about you?” or “Who do you say I am?

 

Peter’s response, although impulsive, revealed his understanding of the Lord at that time in his life: “You are the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah) the Son of the Living God!”

With that, the Lord replies:

 

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:17-18 NIV).

I am glad Jesus Christ is never concerned about satisfying the latest public opinion poll regarding His identity. Even today, some refer to Him as a prophet or a great teacher; others say He was a good man who died a horrible death on a cross.

Chatting with a friend recently, I was reminded of the many poignant discussions about the “Who is Jesus?” question, which occurred over the course of my life. Upon reflection, these discussions seem to be variations of one central question: “How could anyone believe in a dead man’s religion?”

Those who ask this question are looking through the prism that views Jesus only as the Son of Man, who died on a cross between two thieves one fateful Friday afternoon. But if all we knew about Jesus Christ was His tragic death, then as 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV) reads, “we would be most miserable!

But thank God; death is not all that we know about Jesus Christ!

There is also the Son of God, who arose on that glorious Sunday morning leaving us with a tomb that remains empty today. Objectivity demands that this historical event has to be acknowledged and considered as well.

When we consider both (i.e., Jesus’ death and resurrection) equally and objectively, everything about Him as the God-man becomes crystal clear. Like Peter, we too can understand and acknowledge He is more than just a person who suffered a tragic death on a cross. Also, He is our:

Advocate, Alpha and Omega, Bread of Life, Bridegroom, Christ, Deliverer, Faithful and True, Friend, Good Shepherd, Great God, Great Physician, High Priest, Immanuel, Intercessor, King of Glory, King of Kings, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Lion of Judah, Lord, Lover of Our Soul, Mighty God, Mediator, Messiah, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Resurrection and Life, Righteous Judge, Rock and Fortress, Savior, True Prophet, The Truth, The Way, and The Word.

Isn’t it amazing how God is not too big to care for each of us individually? He is omniscient, having “all knowledge” of every detail of our lives including the exact number of hairs on our heads as promised in Matthew 10:30. Yet He is small enough to care for us personally by asking even today: “Who do you say I am?”

Ultimately, He wants us to trust in Him completely (by giving Him our hearts as it were). Then He can perform His perfect spiritual work inside us that will forever resolve all false assumptions and presuppositions about Him, and give us fellowship with Him that lasts forever.

What a wonderful Savior!

God’s in Control

For January 20, 2019
Many people use the euphemism “the man upstairs” to describe God, although he cannot be described as a mere mortal man. Our awesome God has many distinctive characteristics that set him apart from anything we know or can imagine, just as King David acknowledges in his prayer of dedication and consecration:

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.   1 Chronicles 29:11 (NIV)

God has never relinquished control of the universe, and the Lord Jesus Christ makes this assertion in His Model Prayer found in Matthew 6:13 (KJV): For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Our God has many distinctive characteristics that help us to appreciate his incomparable majesty and splendor.

  • Eternal: Our God is eternal, without a beginning or end. He always was, and will always be, the everlasting God.
  • Self-existent: Our God exists in and of himself. He has no creator, but he alone is the source and origin of all life and existence. Our God is the living God.
  • Omnipotent and Omniscient: Our God has all power and all knowledge. He is able to do anything that he chooses with an unlimited, perfect, and eternal knowledge of all things past, present, future, actual, and possible, so that the outcome is always perfect.
  • Omnipresent: God is everywhere at the same time, without diminishing his being or essence. He occupies both heaven and earth simultaneously.
  • Faithful and True: Our God is reliable and authentic in all his ways. He is the embodiment of truth and veracity and the source of all that is authentic and genuine.
  • Just and Righteous: Our God is the source of all moral uprightness, and his right judgments evoke our confident assurance in every situation.
  • Loving, Good, and Merciful: Our God expressed an unselfish benevolence toward us when we were spiritually dead and morally corrupt. He loves us with an unfailing and unselfish love, and he is merciful by forgiving our sins and securing our eternal fellowship with him through Jesus Christ.
  • Holy: Our God is morally and spiritually perfect, and glorious in holiness. This trait is at the very core of his being. The Hebrew term qados, used extensively in the Old Testament, depicts God as the only one with a pure, undefiled quality of essence that separates him (“cut off”) from any other group or class. The Greek counterpart hagios, used extensively in the New Testament, describes God as pure and sacred. Whether studying the Old or New Testament, the message is clear: holiness is predicated on God, because he alone is pure, majestic, and glorious. In other words, only our God is holy and without equal.

Life on this earth is unpredictable and uncertain as recent human and weather tragedies poignantly remind us. Nevertheless, we can rest in the Lord our God because He is not capricious with His exquisite care, and He consistently reveals His veracity, fidelity and incomprehensible grace each moment of the day—without fail.

Ours is not a perfect world, but we can know a perfect God. Did you thank Him for that breath you have just taken? What about the heartbeat that happened within you just now? We take many common occurrences for granted…often feeling entitled to them.

However, we are not entitled. These are merely some of the wonderful blessings He lovingly and graciously bestows upon us to show that in Him “we live, move, and exist” and that “all things work together for our good” as Acts 17:28 and Romans 8:28 tell us.

The blessings of God–especially those awesome provisions made available to us by Jesus Christ–enable us to experience His eternal comfort, strength, and fulfillment.

Today, let us hear the voice of the Almighty God thundering from eternity:

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.   Psalm 46:10 (NIV)