The Question of Questions
April 9, 2021
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" (Matthew 16:13).
One of the freedoms we enjoy in this country is the freedom of worship. It was one of the motivating factors that brought the Europeans to this country. We understand that freedom of worship can mean the freedom to worship and the freedom from worship. We also understand this freedom permits all types of religious practices insofar as those practices do not advocate the abuse, destruction, or death of humans, animals, etc.
Because of this freedom, we have seen the rise and development of cults, the occult, and every variant of religion you can imagine - Christian or otherwise. In such a religiously pluralistic culture, how does a person know the true Christian faith from the false ones?
The time for Jesus to commit Himself to the cross was drawing near. In a few months He would offer to God the sacrifice of His perfectly sinless life and blood as the atonement for mankind. As that time grew short, it was necessary for Him to examine the faith of His disciples. The singular truth upon which their faith, and any Christian faith rests is “Who do you believe I, the Son of Man, am?”
Jesus asked His disciples this question not because He was ignorant of what the people thought and spoke of Him (He knew that full well), but to get a definitive declaration of faith from them and to confirm and strengthen that faith in them. Asking them what others thought set the tone for Jesus to narrow His inquiry in asking them what they believed. It was a common tool in that day to determine what a person really thought about a subject; if their belief was more public or truly personal.
This is the question of questions each person must ask him/herself and answer - “Who do you believe Jesus to be?” Eternal life and destiny rests on the answer to that question. People get caught up in religion and are satisfied with the accoutrements of religion and fail to see that religion, in and of itself, saves no one. There is no forgiveness of sin in sacraments. There is no imparting of grace in the words or works of men or the church. The Lord said to Jeremiah But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31:33). True faith is grounded in a personal relationship with God, not in the performance of religious rituals.
“Father, may the message of my preaching and teaching be crystal clear to all who hear, that Jesus Christ is the only way, truth, and life that leads us to You. May I press the truth of one’s personal relationship with You through Your Son as the only means of salvation. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”