Then Jesus said to them, And you, who do you say I am? ( Matthew 16:15 ) ‘
The truth is that this question that Jesus asked his disciples is more complicated than it seems..
At different times in our lives, we are confronted with some similar questions.
Who do we say Jesus is? – A Prophet? A moral teacher? Maybe a heretic? Will he be the son of God? Anyway, who is Jesus?
Where in the Bible does Jesus ask, “And you, who do you say that I am?”
Jesus records the issue in Matthew 16:13-16, Mark 8:27-29 and Luke 9:18-20.
In all three accounts, Jesus first asks, “Who do people say I am?” ( Mark 8:27, Luke 9:18 ).
The disciples answer: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elias; and still others, say it is Jeremiah or one of the prophets” ( Matthew 16:14, Mark 8:28, Matthew 16:14 ).
And here I want to highlight the first lesson of this passage, how often do others challenge our faith by saying things like:
- Again go to church…
- This Jesus is ‘nothing’…
You see, it doesn’t matter what others think of Jesus or your relationship with Him, He dwells in you, period.
Between your home, your neighborhood, and even your city, your opinion is the only one that matters to Christ!
So also vice versa, no matter what others say or think about you, don’t care what others are saying, what they are accusing you of…
Today Jesus wants to remind you that he knows you and that’s enough!
But what was the purpose, the objective of Christ in raising this question to his disciples? Let’s see below:
“And you, who do you say I am?” is it a test for disciples of Jesus?
Jesus, of course, knew who he was. He didn’t need the disciples to tell Him. Being divine, He also already knew what the disciples thought.
But Jesus used to ask questions to teach and make his disciples reflect. He used to answer a question with another question, leading people to find answers.
First, Jesus asked the disciples what others said about him.
They responded easily enough, with a series of speculations. But then Jesus turned the tables: “But who do you say that I am?”
What the world thought didn’t matter. The crowd mentality was irrelevant!
Now, it was time for the disciples to claim Jesus’ identity for themselves.
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. ( Matthew 16:16 )
And then Christ said:
Blessed are you because this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father who is in heaven.
For I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it;
And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. ( Matthew 16:17-19 )
Jesus showed how important Peter’s statement was: His identity as the Messiah and Son of God was the very rock, and foundation, upon which the church would be built.
What is the context of the passage where Jesus said, “But who do you say I am?”
In all three accounts, Jesus’ conversation with His disciples is recorded shortly after the miracle of the multiplication and feeding of thousands.
Here the Lord had already healed many sick people, had already walked on water, cast out demons, and even raised the dead.
The disciples had seen all these miracles and had been following Jesus for some time.
They were even sent out in His name, preaching repentance, healing, and casting out demons. After all this, Jesus turned to his disciples and asked: “And you, who do you say that I am?”
The disciples were beginning to understand more about who Jesus was.
The title “Messiah” was often misunderstood at the time; many expected the Messiah to be a military leader who would free Israel from Roman rule.
However, Jesus came to do much more than free us from earthly dominion.
However, shortly after telling the disciples that He was indeed the Messiah, Jesus began to predict His death.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day. ( Matthew 16:21 )
The meaning of “And you, who do you say I am?”
“ I am ” is an important phrase throughout the Holy Bible. God first declares this name for himself in Exodus, when he appeared to Moses at the burning bush.
God told Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am sent me to you.” ( Exodus 3:13-14 )
Jesus also uses multiple “I am” statements:
- I am the bread of life ( John 6:35 )
- I am the light of the world ( John 8:12 )
- I am the door of the sheep ( John 10:7 )
- I am the good shepherd ( John 10:11 )
- I am the resurrection and the life ( John 11:25 )
- I am the way, the truth, and the life ( John 14:6 )
- I am the true vine ( John 15:1 )
- Jesus saith unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. ( John 8:58 )
The “I Am” statements continue in Revelation, for example, “’I am Alpha and Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1: 8 )
God is constantly claiming His identity. But why does all this matter so much?
Why is it important to know who Jesus is?
Even in Jesus’ time, people had many answers to who He was.
As recorded above, some thought he was a prophet, while in other passages he was accused of being sent by the devil.
The Jews killed Jesus as a heretic and the Romans as a potential insurrectionist.
Still, His followers claimed He rose from the dead and worshiped Him as God, and for that, they were willing to die.
Clearly, whoever Jesus is, what we believe about His identity has consequences.
According to the Bible, proclaiming the identity of Jesus is part of salvation.
Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
And you? Who do you say Jesus is?
The central principle that sets Christianity apart from all other religions is our belief that the supreme God of the universe took on human flesh, lived among us, and then, in His immense love, died so that we might be forgiven.
If we are willing to claim Jesus as Lord and submit to Him, we are invited to live with Him forever.
This is something no prophet, teacher, or revolutionary can offer.
Are you willing to accept the great power and love of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God?
who do you say I am, sermon
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