BUT WHOM SAY YE?
Matthew 16:13 ¶ When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Why was it so important as to who anyone said that Jesus was? It was because by that identification one could tell if God’s true salvation had taken affect. For one’s personal identification of the Lord Jesus reveals whether their’s is just a historical, or a true believing and saving faith! 1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Therefore we can easily see that the majority of the public in that day was unregenerate, as they imagined, based only on miracles, that the Lord Jesus was many things, but not the Messiah of Israel. John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Yet when the Lord asked the disciples of their assessment of his identity we find a very different profession, as it was not based on miracles, but on the revelation of the Father. For true, saving faith does not come by education, nor legislation, but solely by revelation! Luke 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
And that revelation by the Holy Spirit was the reason why, although John the Baptist was, at that time, the greatest man born of woman, yet any of the least who had entered the spiritual kingdom by the new birth was far greater than he. For John saw Christ by vision and miracles, but Peter by the effectual revelation of the Father! Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
And this gives us the key as to how the Lord dealt with the disciples of John as he sent them to question him concerning his identity. Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Take careful notice of the instruction the Lord kindly gave to these two disciples of John. Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: They were to rehearse the works of the Lord Jesus to John that they witnessed as they came to him. And this was the way, along with the vision of the dove, (see John 1:32), by which John had formally received his testimony that Jesus of Nazareth was very God! For they were to tell him “again” of these works.
The Lord was wise to these matters for he brought them up upon several occasions to those seeking him and his powers. To the father in Cana of Galilee where he accomplished his first miracle of changing the water into wine, who had a son sick unto death, he brought this forth. John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
And that was the very issue with Nicodemus! He gave a false testimony of who he thought Jesus was, solely based on miracles! (And we shall later see that seeing and craving miracles will harden one’s heart!) John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Those who are said to have “believed in his name,” based upon having seen his miracles did not receive any commitment from the Lord! For ‘miracle faith’ is not saving faith! For saving faith comes by hearing and not by seeing! Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Therefore John’s understanding of who Jesus was received the report of those gospel activities which his two disciples witnessed as they came to Jesus. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Therefore Nicodemus reveals that his knowledge of the identity of the Lord Jesus was based on “these miracles that thou doest.” So he had a limited concept of who the Lord was. Jesus was therefore only seen as a “Rabbi.” That is a “master” teacher come from God. But he did not realize that he was actually God come to teach! Hence we have Jesus’ abrupt diagnosis of who Nicodemus was! He was an unconverted Israelite, highly trained as a “master in Israel,” himself! John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Yet Peter’s confession of who Jesus was, being solely based on the revelation of God the Father, needed not, as John, to be shown “again” any gospel signs and miracles! Therefore Peter, unlike John the Baptist, never doubted who the Lord Jesus was! John doubted who Jesus was after proclaiming him to be “the Lamb of God,” but although Peter denied his relationship with the Lord, he never doubted who the Lord was! For unlike John, he needed no miracles to bolster his faith which was revealed to him by the Father!
Now let us see the detrimental effect that craving and seeing miracles had, even on the very disciples of the Lord. It almost caused him to pass them by in a very horrific and life-threatening storm!
The feeding of the five thousand with just five little dinner rolls and two little fishes as recorded in Mark chapter six. But did you ever consider the results of this upon the disciples lives afterward? Seriously consider these verses:
Mark 6:48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
It was a great mercy of the sovereign Lord not to take the opportunity of passing them by as he had done to Nicodemus in his falsely addressing the Lord Jesus based on miracles! For John 2:23, 24 states that Jesus did not commit himself to these so-called believers! For once a soul has “tasted of the heavenly gift” and has fallen away from faith, “it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance!” (Hebrews 6:4-6) Dear Reader, we don’t realize just how close we have been to irrecoverable reprobation in our practice of carnal religious tradition, with it’s inordinate affections giving us a false concept of “Jesus!” 1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Therefore it is of supreme importance as to “Whom say ye that I am?” And if we proclaim him to be very God, why are we not true worshippers, worshipping him in spirit and truth? John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
For those who expected eternal life based upon the doing of “wonderful works” were told to “depart from me!” Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 15:6b Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Psalm 144:11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
And who are those whom the Lord Jesus invites to come unto him? And as it has already been stated, it is those to whom the Father has revealed the Son! And this revelation came not through natural wisdom, but through the supernatural birth of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
In order for Saul of Tarsus to become Paul the Apostle he had to be sent into the deserts of Arabia to unlearn the dead letter of the law and be converted to see the spiritual word of God! Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. Pastor Gene Breed
September 30, 2022