Who Is Jesus to You?

Matthew 16:13-17 (NIV)
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But what about you?' He asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven.'"

This is a question that theologians, historians, philosophers, and common folk have pondered for centuries. Who was Jesus? Was He just a good man or philosopher who left us with some virtuous teachings to live by? Was He just another prophet? Or was He a madman or who thought He was divine, or an impostor who claimed to be God? Did He even really exist, or was He just a fabrication of men who lived nearly two thousand years ago?

Jesus asked His disciples who the people of His day thought He was, and they gave answers ranging from John the Baptist to one of the prophets of olden times come back to life. But then He turned the question to them. His followers of a few years. Who did they think He was? Before any of the disciples answered, Peter gave his reply: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter expressed his firm conviction that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. This showed that he believed Jesus to be more than just a mere man with some good ideas, but Deity in the flesh. As the passage says, Jesus Christ declared Peter to be blessed, since one could only profess such a conviction by revelation from God the Father.

The same question Jesus posed to His disciples almost two thousand years ago confronts us today? Who is Jesus to you? Did he even exist? Was he just a man? Or is He the fullness of Deity in bodily form (Colossians 2:9) who was sent to make salvation available to us (John 3:16)? These questions are important because if Jesus is not who He claimed to be, then we have no Savior and His authority to forgive sin would be invalid. If Jesus is not our Savior, then we have no means for our salvation and He would be a liar, and the Bible would be a lie, for it declares that Jesus Christ is the only name by which we may be saved (Acts 4:8-12). And without a means for salvation, we are all doomed and our faith would be in vain.

But if Jesus is all He claimed to be and the Bible is reliable and true, then by faith we can accept Him and thus secure our salvation. We would be able to say with conviction along with Peter that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God"; and also along with Paul that Jesus "is God over all" (Romans 9:5).

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