November 16, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Friday’s blog we looked at the first two verses – Matthew 16:13 and 14 – of our featured scripture. In those verses, we learned how the unsaved world views the Lord Jesus Christ. “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” As I wrote on Friday, to the unsaved world…
He is a good person, a teacher, an example, an inspiration. But He is not
the very God of the universe come in the flesh – the One upon whom we
must totally depend for forgiveness of our sins and right standing before
the Father. He is not the Lord of all – the One whom we are called to
But let’s look at what the believer says of Him – Matthew 16:15 through 17:
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter
answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona,
for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who
is in heaven.”
It was a bold statement that Peter made – “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And there is a lot in those few words in verse 15:
• “You are the Christ….” By this time in His ministry, the disciples had seen the Lord perform many healings and other miracles. And Jesus had been opening their understanding of Himself as the Messiah. That is what Christ means – it is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah. Perhaps the best Old Testament understanding of who the Messiah would be and what He would do comes from Isaiah 9:6 and 7 – a passage of which the disciples readily knew:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government
will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Coun-
selor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of
His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David
and over His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and
justice from that time forward even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts
will perform this.
But still, this statement was not of human understanding! As Jesus said in verse 16 of our scripture: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” And this goes along with what Paul wrote in Romans 3:11: “There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” People, in their natural sinful state, are blind and deaf to the things of God! – as implied in Matthew 13:13 and John 9:41. More than that, they are spiritually “…dead in trespasses and sins…” (Ephesians 2:1). This means that God has to resurrect a person to new life and cure both blindness and deafness before that one even has the capacity to seek God!
But it also says in Revelation 22:17, “…let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who is athirst come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Whoever implies that we choose to come when and if we want!
Now how do these two ideas fit together – man’s responsibility (human choice involving our free will) and God’s sovereignty (His sovereign will)? I confess that I have never been able to completely wrap my mind around this enigma! And I don’t know of anyone who can – except God! The Bible seems to teach both ideas, but in our minds they just don’t seem to fit! But God’s mind is a lot bigger, and He’s got it down pat! In the meantime, I believe in God’s sovereignty, but I share Christ with others as if they have free choice – inviting them to come to Jesus!
• “…the Son of the Living God.” My question concerning this statement is, “Had the disciples heard Jesus and/or others testify to this truth before Peter gave his confession?” The answer is yes. Twice Jesus had stated this very fact – first to Nicodemus in John 3:18 and again in John 5:25 in His own defense when He had healed the paralytic man on the Sabbath at the Pool of Bethesda. The Jews became so irate that it says they “…persecuted…and sought to kill Him…” (John 5:16)
Also, the disciples had heard demons confess this truth as they were driven out of their human victims by the Lord’s command (see Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11; Luke 4:41; 8:28). And the disciples themselves confessed, “Truly You are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33) after Jesus walked across the Sea of Galilee to their ship. But the first disciple recorded uttering this truth was Nathaniel in John 1:49 when he told the Lord upon meeting Him, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! ”
Even if they had heard it from various sources – and even from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself – as said above, this statement was not of human understanding! For Jesus, in verse 16 plainly said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
More on Peter’s confession in the next blog.