Series A Pentecost
October 8, 2000
Seminarian Jon Smithly
Today's sermon text for this 17th Sunday after Pentecost is our Gospel lesson.
Let us pray.
O God, our Creator, Redeemer and Comforter, as we worship you in Spirit and truth, we humbly pray that you may open our hearts to your glorious and Saving Word. We repent of our sins and implore you for your grace and mercy. We believe in Jesus Christ as our only Lord and Savior and ask that we may grow in your grace and holiness. Hear us for Christ's sake, Amen.
Confessing Jesus as Christ & Lord
Have you ever thought about what our society and world say of Jesus? I would probably guess that the majority of people in this present day and age have false and incorrect ideas of who Jesus really is. Some people flat out, consider Jesus to be a liar. Oh, they may not say so directly, but their daily lives give evidence to sheer disbelief. Also, there are those of the perception that Christ was a madman and nothing more than a lunatic. I'm here to tell you that both of these notions are false and couldn't be farther from the truth.
In our Gospel passage for today, Jesus asked His Disciples, "Who do people say I am?" Jesus was really asking this question to bring out the disciple's own confession more prominently. Jesus' question certainly made the disciples think and it makes us do a little thinking as well. In v.28) we hear the disciples response:
"Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others say one of the prophets." The answers given here indicate that the people in general considered Jesus to be nothing more than a mere man. Even though the people recognized that Jesus had exceptional powers and gifts, their disbelief and lack of faith kept them from seeing who Jesus really was.
The erroneous ideas and beliefs of the people in that day and age also tempted the disciples. Likewise, the masses today, are lead to believe whatever is popular and suitable for their own itching ears, not realizing the death and destruction that awaits them by being outside of God's grace in Jesus.
Now in verse 29, it's as if Jesus is turning up the intensity by asking more and more direct questions. "But what about you?" Jesus asks. "Who do you say I am?" Jesus really drives the point home in this verse. There is no way of dodging this question or trying to get out of it. This was serious business. Jesus wanted to know what confession would his disciples make. The same is true for us. Jesus wants to know what confession will we make?
Peter answers Jesus' question by saying, "You are the Christ." Peter's response hit the nail on the head. Peter was absolutely right. This confession that came forth from St. Peter was revealed to him not from man but rather from God the Father. Jesus is the Christ. The Christ, a Greek word, and the Messiah, a Hebrew word both mean "Anointed One." Jesus Christ is the Anointed One; God's only begotten Son.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we thank God for bringing us to faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. Like Peter confessed, when others ask us who do you say Jesus is, we can boldly proclaim that he is the Christ, the Lord and Savior of our lives. We can confess that Jesus is Lord of all and that He died to pay for our sins and the sins of the entire world.
Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings, He is Immanuel: God with us. May this be our good confession.
But our text for today doesn't stop here. Jesus further directs His disciples not to tell anyone about Him. Why would Jesus make such a request? Jesus told His disciples not to tell anyone who He was because of all the false messianic ideas believed by the Jewish people of that day. Jesus often warned and cautioned people whom he healed not to spread what He had done for them. Jesus' popularity with the people coupled with the growing opposition from the religious leaders could have precipitated a crisis before Jesus' ministry was completed.
There were those who for political and national reasons, wanted to make Jesus king. And they wanted to do this by force. This was totally in contrast to what Jesus had in mind. Jesus had a real ministry here on earth and that was to seek and to save the lost. Jesus had in mind to serve, not to be served. Jesus ultimately served all humanity and us by laying down His life as a ransom. It was for this reason that Christ began to teach the disciples on this very matter. Jesus taught His disciples about the very mission that He came to fulfill. In doing so, Jesus actually predicts his own suffering, death and resurrection.
When Christ calls himself the Son of Man in verse 31, this is a humble title that He willingly wears and assumes. And we know that Christ was a humble servant because He endured the scrutiny of His accusers and He endured the scorn and shame of the cross. Christ did this for our behalf. Christ took our place on the cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us
that we might become the righteousness of God. We enjoy peace with God because of the God-given faith in our hearts.
When Christ shared this message about His suffering, death and resurrection with the disciples, Peter began to rebuke him. Isn't that interesting. The very one who made the good confession of who Jesus is, now starts to rebuke Jesus. What an inconsistency, that we too share in, in our daily lives. Peter acts as master here, though what he does is satanic.
Satan was trying to keep Jesus. from His course of going to Calvary. Satan was trying to accomplish this by working through one of the disciples. Jesus calls it right there on the spot and says, "Get behind me, Satan. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Jesus would not stand for or tolerate any of this nonsense. It was complete foolishness that Jesus dismisses here.
Finally, Jesus graciously invites all to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. Notice, that both the disciples and the crowd in our passage are invited. As Christians, we are to follow our Lord with a true and total devotion. Our cross is that which we bear because we are a follower of Jesus Christ. Let us have in mind the things of God rather than the things of men. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life for Jesus and for the Gospel will save it. Of course that does not mean we can save ourselves, but that in Jesus His shed blood saves us. We are forgiven in Jesus Christ our Lord. May we share this good news about Jesus with all and may we continue to make the good confession of (Jesus as the Christ) until we are called home into glory. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Now may Christ Himself keep you in His grace unto life everlasting. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria+