WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
MATTHEW 16 13-
August 16th. 2020
WHO IS JESUS?
If we ask people who Jesus is, we will get a variety of answers.
Here are some:
“A good man. . . The Son of God . . . A Prophet . . . A Galilean rabbi . . . A teacher of God’s Law . . .
The Embodiment of God’s Love . . . A Reincarnated Spirit Master . . . The Ultimate Revolutionary . . .
The Messiah of Israel . . . Saviour . . . A first-
King of Kings . . . A misunderstood teacher . . . Lord of the Universe . . . A fool who thought he was
God’s Son . . . Son of Man . . . A fabrication of the early church."
It was the same when Jesus was on earth.
King Herod was very worried when he heard about Jesus and the things He was doing.
He was worried because he had a guilty conscience because he had put John the Baptist to death. Yet he had respected John and was afraid of him and the great authority from God he seemed to possess.
We can only imagine his horror on hearing that another great preacher had appeared and was drawing the crowds to Him.
Could it be John back from the dead?
Other people were also saying that Jesus was John come back to life while some were suggesting He was perhaps one of the other prophets like Elijah from their history.
No one seemed to be really sure!
The Jewish nation were waiting for a promised deliverer of their people. They called Him the Messiah.
They had been warned that many would appear professing to be Him but would be false Messiahs.
They were told of different clues they would have and would help them to decide who was false and who was not.
When John the Baptist himself had asked for proof from Jesus of who He was, Jesus had told him to listen to what was going on and to remember what he had seen.
The blind received their sight, the lame were made to walk, those who suffered from skin diseases were made clean, the deaf could hear, the dead were raized to life again and the good news of God's Kingdom was being preached to the poor.
The prophet Isaiah had foretold that all this would happen when the promised Messiah appeared on earth.
These were the signs that would point to the real Messiah.
Jesus showed all these signs in His life and work.
Yet still people questioned.
One stumbling block for many was that Jesus in other ways was not the kind of Messiah they either wanted or expected. He was not a great warrior standing up against the Romans.
Jesus disciples having spent so much time with Him and really getting to know Him, could with Peter say to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!”
We remember that they did this after Jesus had walked on the water to save them in the storm and had stepped into the boat to be with them.
In our Gospel reading today, Jesus ask His disciple, “Who do people say that I am?
They gave the answer that some said He was Elijah, some, John the Baptist, others, Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.
It was then that Jesus put the disciples on the spot. He asked them directly,
“Who do you say that I am?”
Outspoken, impetuous Peter rose to the occasion saying,
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!”
Today I am putting us all on the spot!
WHO DO WE, YOU AND I, SAY JESUS IS?
What are our reasons for our answers?
As Jesus worked with, in, and through His disciples, so He continues to do so today.
How we behave and how we treat other people will make Jesus alive to those to whom we minister and to whom we talk and share our faith.
But why do we believe that Jesus is God’s Son in a world where many think we are foolish to believe this?
Did we have personal encounters with our Lord, did we learn the faith through our parents? Did someone representing Him make a big impression on us and cause us to believe.
Is it through miracles we have experienced ourselves?
It is essential for us to really know Who Jesus is ourselves and to let Him in to heal and change us and to empower us to go out and bring others into His Kingdom. We have to know why we believe and to be prepared to testify to it.
The only way to get an accurate picture of Jesus is to study the record of his life found in the four gospels.
CS LEWIS SAYS THIS in his book Mere Christianity :
“I am trying
here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: 'I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.'
That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell.
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.
But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.”
It is how we show Jesus in our lives that will help people to know Who He was and Who He is.
This is a sobering fact.
It could be said that because we believe, others will believe but only if our lives reflect what we believe about Him.
As disciples we are called to show Jesus by imitating Him to the world and by so doing bring people to Him. Then Jesus Himself will do the rest.
So then, let us go out with Joy and show Sketty that we know and believe that Jesus is our Messiah and show them that , He is alive and working through you and me, -
We may use familiar church and Biblical titles to say Who Jesus is.
These titles include, Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, “He is my saviour!” We may say He is the lamb of God,
Yet these titles don’t actually convey what Jesus is to us.
They don’t really say what Jesus actually is to us as individuals.
They reflect the theology we are both taught and learn.
Sometimes, I think we need to speak about Jesus in a modern and in a more personal way when trying to convey what He is to us and our relationships with Jesus.
I’ll leave you with one answer that one person gave when asked, “Who do you say that Jesus is?
The answer was, simple yet full of meaning, She said,
“JESUS IS MY BEST FRIEND!”