Lectionary Year A
August 22, 1999
Matthew 16:13-20

Contemporary Address


(JFC) A. DESCRIPTION OF THE AUDIENCE

Any audience with anyone needing some additional data, regarding the Person of Jesus Christ, could appreciate this event in the New Testament. It addresses human persons where they are, inundated with data flowing freely, perhaps even and especially concerning the Person of Jesus Christ. As the millennium ends, more and more conversation of this nature are expected.

(JFC) INTENDED GOALS

Inspiration and information, regarding the Person of Jesus Christ better come from these efforts. Auditors might be enabled by this sermon to trust more in Christ, the Son of the Living God. They might be motivated to read and study Scripture more than before. They might even examine the many "things" binding them on earth and "things" they might want to get free from controlling them. Surely, too, they will want to praise God for revelations, particularly concerning the Person of Jesus Christ.

(JFC) C. ADDRESS

Who Is Jesus, Anyway?

Introduction
Questions are fair game with God. Fortunately, we can ask them of the Word of God in the Bible. Today's text tells us a great deal about Jesus.

I. Answers Are A Dime A Dozen
The first thing this text tells us is that Jesus is patient with our questions and answers, even when they are wrong. Wrong answers never fail an answerer of a quiz Christ gives. Sometimes we have to hear our answers before we can realize how nearly right and/or embarrassingly wrong they are. "How do I know what I think about that matter until I hear myself say it?" It works for God. It can work for us. In essence, also, Jesus might be sympathizing with wrong answers that come from lesser informed humans when He asks the questions in 2 ways: 1) "Who do "hoi polloi" say that the Son of Man is?" amd "Who do you say that I am?" 2) This text tells us what answers are wrong. Many people to whom we ask questions, give us insufficient and/or incorrect data. We can get wrong answers almost anywhere. Jesus was not John the Baptist. He was not Elijah, nor Jeremiah nor any of the other prophets. Jesus never scolded the wrong answers nor their answerers, for that matter, either. He simply waited patiently for better answers than what the talk on the streets and in the market places provided. Some of the people we talk with give wrong answers. There are many insufficient data out in our streets, in the malls we frequent and on the T-Ball and Little League fields, too, etc. Wrong answers don't make bad people, they just fail to suffice for aiding our searching for Jesus' true identity.

II. The Answer Is Jesus Is The Christ, the Messiah
Simon got it right. He apparently didn't even know how he got it right. So, Jesus told him, "God revealed it to you, not those tongue wagging mistaken self- appointed know-it-alls." We, too, might find the answer from God and God's Word. Right answers come from God. Read your Bible. Study it. Share insights it gives you. It'll let others benefit from your insights and they will let you benefit from "aha"'s they have gotten from Scripture, too. That's the way Jesus did it. He engaged His disciples in a discussion, regarding who He was. That discussion has certainly benefited me as I have studied this passage. What a blessing it is.

III. Blessedness From God On High
Blessedness in Matthew means what the Beatitudes say. These blessings bring with them, "a great emotional force" for us when we "meet the decisive revelation of God with genuine faith", according to F. Hauck in TDNT, vol. iv. Faith, too, comes from God, Timothy tells us. Blessedness brings conversion. Jesus added to Simon the name of Peter, Rock. Jesus told Simon Peter, indicatively and declaratively, 2 things: 1) God revealed this faith data to you, and 2) you are changed to become more durable in your faith. Christ will do the same sorts of things in our lives, too. When we are so converted more than previously, things bound on earth will seem less attractive, things loosed we will no longer regret loosing them, etc.

Conclusion
We will meet more of the revelations from God that will inform and inspire us about the very nature of Jesus Christ, our Savior.



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