Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Who Do You Say That I Am? Matthew 16:15
Years ago I heard of "Bailey's Jesus." She was a young three year old girl that attended an Easter Pageant that was held in a large Auditorium. From Jesus birth to his resurrection; his life was played out with live animals and nearly a hundred cast members in realistic costumes. This granddaughter was not just watching but involved as if she were a player. When Jesus, on a young donkey, descends the steps from the back of the auditorium, depicting His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bailey was ecstatic. When Jesus, riding on a young donkey passed by her isle she began jumping up and down, screaming, " Jesus, Jesus! There's Jesus!" Not just saying the words, but exclaiming them with every fiber of her being.
Bailey had her answer for who Jesus is. To my family and friends I must ask, who do you say Jesus is? I have been trying to answer this question myself. The need I have is to give an answer from my heart and who I believe he is. Even though I have never seen him. I believe what I have read, heard, and seen testified of him. He was born of the virgin Mary was crucified, dead and buried. Just as Thomas when saw him, resurrected in a glorified body, I also bow down and worship him as my Lord and my God.
He and Father have made my soul their dwelling place. This is the spirit that groans from within me3. My Jesus lives now in intercession for me. There are unseen eternal things he has shown me. Things that I could not have found out on my own.
There are practical things I have has his help with. When I have just gotten on the freeway for a long trip he has reminded me that I need to go back to get something important like my wallet.
Even though I have not seen Jesus, I love him I am trying to obey him, and it is by Holy Spirit working in me that I am able to even want to do the things that bring Jesus great pleasure. There is a conviction that hold to, He would return as he has promised. He will be King over all kings. He will and make judgment of every word and action in my life.
Many people who knew Jesus when he lived in Isreal were expecting a King to deliver them from the Romans. Even one Mother thought that his reign would be in the realm that we now know, and that Jesus would become a ruler right then. She requested of Jesus that he should grant the top two positions to her adult sons! When Jesus returns, I believe that the same misconception could be prominent in the minds of many. Many could be thinking Jesus will return as a Savior. Some one to deliver them from the tribulations of the earth and the wrath of God which will outpoured upon the generation that will be on earth when he returns; only to be surprised to see him descending as a ruling king. A ruler to which every living soul will submit to and say that, “Jesus is Lord.”
Jesus became a living real Savior to me in 1979. I realized that he was not just healing me of hurts that others had wounded me with. I needed a Savior from the wrath and punishment that I deserved for my offences made toward others. It was time to do a 180 degree turn from my rebellious ways. I was causing him more grief than I did my own mother. Leaving the sex and drugs and “Rock and Roll” lifestyle was a joy to him, my mother, and a whole multitude of Angels. More importantly I had a need to be submitting to Jesus as my Master. He is my Lord. Like a boss that rightfully has authority over everything in my life.
Years ago there was a game show called, "To Tell The Truth." The central character was accompanied by two impostors who pretended to be the central character. The celebrity panelists questioned the three contestants; the impostors were allowed to lie but the central character was sworn "to tell the truth." After questioning, the panel attempted to identify which of the three challengers was telling the truth.
In the final points of this devotion I would like to point out in the scriptures the many people who errored in their understanding of who Jesus was and is. There were also many who knew Jesus correctly. This is a strong conviction for me these days. To not be wrongly relating to Jesus, and when he returns be saying to me, : I never knew you. I might know who he is, but does he know me as a close friend?
Just like that game show, many people in our present day that are trying to decern who is the real Jesus. Doctrines of Demons are imitating Jesus, but in truth they are anti Christ.
Followers of the Muslim practice have posted Jesus on a time line as a good man, and a prophet that preceded Mohamed. This is a gospel that teaches that Jesus did not die! To a Later Day Saint Jesus is not the word of God or God himself. This religion teaches that Jesus and Satan contended to be the one who would take on flesh, being born of Mary and then be able to be the redeemer of mankind. This is a different Jesus that we are warned about. The scriptures declares to us also not to put up with this preaching.8
About 2 million Americans say they believe the Watchtower doctrine about Jesus. These false teachers say he was Michael the Angel who was born of a virgin. These folks declare themselves to be Jehovah's witnesses, but they are in truth identified by a friend of mine as "False Witnesses" confessing that Jesus is only a spirit now, after being raised from the dead. Over 1.2 million of these members have achieved the status of an "active publisher" In 2010 over 7 million world wide are not able to confess that Jesus came in the flesh as God, but that he is only a god.
By the grace of God I want to be testifying to anyone I can that Jesus came in the flesh. The scriptures declare that he was God and that all the fullness of the Godhead dwelled in him bodily. I believe that after Jesus was raised from the dead he was a real bodily person. There are about a dozen references to these truths.
Here is some more of Bailey's encounter with Jesus. There is a lesson for us to learn from this childas her grandma told it. In the arrest scene the soldiers shoved and slapped Jesus. Bailey responded as if she were in the crowd of women, with terror and anger. "Stop it!" she screamed. "Bad soldiers, stop it!" "In a most powerful scene, the soldiers led Jesus carrying the cross down the steps of the auditorium from the back. They were yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus, who was bloodied and beaten. Bailey was now hysterical. "Stop it! Soldiers! Stop it!" she screamed. She must have been wondering why all these people did nothing. She then began to cry instead of scream. "Jesus, Oh, Jesus!" People all around us began to weep as we all watched this devoted little disciple see her Jesus beaten and killed as those first century disciples had. Going back and forth between her mother's lap and mine for comfort, she was distraught. I kept saying, "Bailey, it's OK. Jesus is going to be OK. These are just people pretending to be soldiers. She looked at me like I was crazy. Bailey perceived what to her was the real Jesus right before her eyes."
To Bailey, he was real, and his hurt became her tears. His resurrection became a living joy and after the play she ran up and clinged to his feet. I want to have a real relationship that causes me to have a childlike faith in Jesus. Can I relate to him as real person who really wants to be involved in every thing I do? Does he really have a say so in every relationship I have? Does he really care about me and the circumstances that I am in? The scriptures describe the encounters many had with Jesus and who they understood him to be. The Pharasies declared that Jesus was demon possessed. In the midst of a storm that was about to sink their boat his disciples marveled at Jesus and said, " What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" Matthew 8:27 Later on Jesus walked on the water toward the disciples. He picked up Peter from sinking when Peter tried to walk on water also. When they both got into the boat the disciples worshiped him, saying, “truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14
The demons believe and tremble. Perhaps better they are able to believe better than most of us. Here are a few accounts of their ability to know who Jesus is. Jesus stepped out of a boat to be met by a man who had been demon-possessed. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? From Mark 5 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!" - Luke 4: 33,34
The Centurion that saw Jesus die before him confessed, "truly this was the son of God." Pilot published that Jesus was King of the Jews. Jesus asked His disciples, “ who do men say that I am? They answered, "John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." Then Jesus asked the question again. "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." Matthew 16
Peter knew Jesus by revelation from Our Father. It has taken Divine intervention for me to know him also.
When many turned back from following Jesus he asked if his disciples if they would also want to go away. Peter answered him and said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God" - John 6
Jesus said, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of me.” Matthew 11 Many of us have expected things from God. We have been looking for answers to prayer and were disapointed in a “no” or “wait” answer. So many little things have tripped up many believers I have met. A major crisis in my life has done the same thing. I could not see his love and care for me to be greater than the immdiate circumstance. A personal injury like the ones that I have had can do it. A loss of a job, loss of house, loss of spouse, or death of a loved one can set back so hard!
Jesus met up with his disciples on the mountain where he ascended to heaven. There they worshiped Him. "But some doubted." Here he was after 3 yrs of living and serving them, dying and then was raised back to life. How could they doubt? May we not doubt that Jesus is really who he should be to us.
John the Baptist doubted. He had declared Jesus to be “the lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world.” But in his last days he sent messengers from his prison cell to ask Jesus, " Are you the one to come or should we look for another?"
Are you searching for who the real Jesus is? If you have come to know him, who do you say that he is? May we know in our hearts and be ready to give an answer to anyone of the hope Jesus has given to us. May we have the courage to confess to others who he is, and that we know him. G.W.