Pastor Jonathan Falwell
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
When you mention the name, Jesus, everyone on the face of the earth has an opinion. For some, He’s the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Savior of mankind. For some, a great teacher. For others, a good moral example. And for others, He’s a fraud.
As followers of Christ, it is important that we understand truly who He is and why He is. Over the next few weeks, we will spend time strengthening our view and understanding of the most important person that has ever walked the face of the earth. Today, we’ll take a brief look at what the world believe, and set the stage for defending what we believe.
READ: Matthew 16:1-17
1. World is always looking for a sign
vs 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
Matthew 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.
2. There are signs from above and signs from below
vs 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
* He was jewish
* Ignored from 3rd century forward
* From year 1000, Jews felt that Jesus was source of their persecution
* After 14th century, Jesus was a religious and ethical master, reformer
* They agree with his virgin birth
* He was a prophet
* His divinity is denied
* Ranks after Mohammed
* Spiritual teacher
* Mentioned in Quran 25 times, more than Mohammed
* Messenger of God but NT is not that message
* Believe that he was not killed or crucified
* Some admire but no commitment
* Some love Him, and use Him as guide in their hinduism
* Some believe
* Ghandi admired teaching of Jesus
* No problem with Jesus being divine, but not exclusively
* Some view Christ as an example of denial of self (Kenosis)
* Admire His compassion (Dalai Lama)
* Attracted to His teaching
* Don’t agree with Him as Son of God
* No real view on Jesus as Buddha didn’t focus on God
Atheists for Jesus
Ken Schei says:”Secondly, when I say that I am “for Jesus”, I do not mean to imply in any way that I have converted to Christianity or that I now believe Jesus to be a god. What I do mean is that I have come to have a great deal of respect for the teachings of Jesus. My respect for Jesus is not based on the Cross, but rather on the Mount–not on His death and supposed resurrection, but on His teachings as exemplified by the Sermon on the Mount.
I will be attempting to present convincing evidence that the Ebionites were who they claimed to be (the Original Apostles and their followers), and that they presented the most accurate picture of the life and teachings of Jesus that is available to us today. If I am successful, the major effect will be to show that Jesus taught that the way to get to Heaven was the difficult path of working to live a good life (the position held by the Original Apostles) rather than the easy path of simply believing in a salvation provided by Jesus’ death (as presented by the followers of Paul).” 1
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted–you may well put up with it!
3. The greatest revelation of who Jesus is? Himself
vs 13 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?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.:” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
Mark 8:29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”
1 Ken Schei, Founder and President of Atheists for Jesus http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com