Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Matthew 16:13-15 AMP, "Now when Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they answered, Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?"

In most of my devotionals, I share a lot about my life and what God is doing in it. However, tonight the message that is on my heart to share with you is the simple message of the Gospel. In a culture where information about Christ and about the Christian faith is readily available, I sometimes forget the condition our culture is in Spiritually where people really need to hear not about another religion but rather about something much more personal. That is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 16, Jesus asked His disciples this simple question: "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied telling Him what different people said about Him, but there was a more personal question Jesus wanted to get to with His disciples: "But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?"

This verse imparticular has stood out to me before as it continues to today. What I see through this conversation Jesus had with His disciples is that we eventually have to come face to face with the same question and answer honestly. It may be tempting to say, "My mom says You're the Savior of the world." "My friends say You're someone they believe is a part of a religion and You're optional." "My professor says You don't exist." I can hear Jesus asking you the question now: "But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?"

Everything about Jesus is personal. He isn't a form of religion where you follow a list of rules that say, "Thou shalt not..." or "Thou shalt..." He isn't someone Who lived and died and that was the end. According to the Bible, He is the Name that is above every name. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He was born of a virgin, died a sinner's death on a cross although He never sinned once in His life, and after three days, He rose again. Through Him is the only way to Heaven, and He is asking you today, "But who do you say that I am?"

Tolerance is something that our culture is pushing for right now. The motto of America has become, "What's right for you may not be right for me. You do your thing, and I'll do mine." People are getting to the point that they don't even see there being any absolute truth, and they allow their own feelings and reasoning to be their God.

I'm not here today to tell you what to believe. I'm here to ask you, "Who do you say that Jesus is?"

I'm frightened by two responses I hear from people in response to this question. Those responses are: "I'm a good person." and "I believe in God... I believe He exists." The reason why those two responses scare me is because neither of those answers are enough. There are some really good people who won't be in Heaven because getting to Heaven can't be accomplished by being  a good person. If it were enough, Jesus wouldn't have had to die and rise again. James 2:19 AMP says, "You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as make a man's hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]!" Believing He exists isn't enough. Matthew 7:21-23 AMP says, "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding my commands]."

"What is the way to that personal relationship with Jesus where I can spend now and forever more with Him, then?" you ask. Here's the good part. John 14:6 AMP says, "Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me." Romans 10:9 AMP says, "Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

This devotional isn't one I'm sharing out of my own personal opinions (although it is what I believe to be true). Everything I've shared with you today is based off of what the Bible says. However, you personally still must answer the question for yourself: "But who do you say that I am?" It comes down to faith. I hope your response will be like that of Simon Peters in Matthew 16:16 AMP, "Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Dear Jesus,

This devotional is deep. It's personal, and it requires an honest and very personal answer to the question, "Who do you say that I am?" Your Word makes it clear that You are the only way to Heaven. It shows us that no amount of good works or believing that You exist will be enough. Only through faith in You as our personal Lord and Savior is enough. I pray You'll be tugging on people's hearts through the words You gave me to share tonight. Thank You that You are a God Who never forces Yourself on us but constantly invites us to have a relationship with You. You are so good! I pray all this in Jesus' Name.