A Very Personal Question

A Very Personal Question
Radio Message / Tract #6

man being interrogated under a heat lamp by another man who speaks with a wiggling question mark!
We like to think we've got nothing to hide. But even children can sometimes ask questions that make us squirm. How would we feel if Jesus Christ were asking us some very personal questions? Actually, he is. Think very carefully about this question because we must each one day give our own personal answer to God.

a swaying animated question mark!Matthew 16:13 begins, "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? "

First, what does his question mean? The "Son of man" is the title that Jesus often called himself by. That title, "Son of man", comes from the Old Testament prophecy of Daniel, chapter 7, verses 13 and 14. In that chapter the "Son of man" is unmistakably the everlasting King of all the earth, the Savior of the world. Each time Jesus called himself the "Son of man", he was telling the people exactly who he was with an expression that every Jew of that time would have understood. Jesus said, "I am the Son of man, but what do you hear people saying about me? Who do most people say that I am? Verse 14. "And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."

Most of the common people back then knew that Jesus was at least someone very special. But who do people today say that Jesus Christ is? Most people today say that Jesus was a very good man, maybe the best man. A wise teacher, and an excellent example of love and self sacrifice. Most people today have no serious complaints about Jesus Christ. But is that what Jesus wants to hear? Do you think Jesus was really even interested in what people in general were saying about him? No. He was only interested in this. Verse 15. "He said unto them, But whom do YOU say that I am? "

a warped animated question mark!Jesus was very concerned about who each of these individuals said that he was. He asked that question to 12 men standing around him that day. Let's make that 14. Let's you and me go stand with those 12 men for a while. They're really not much different from us. All 14 of us are just imperfect human beings. And Jesus is asking each of us a question. "Whom do you say that I am?" His eyes are searching our faces and our hearts, one at a time. And we realize that we owe him an answer. More than we've ever owed anything to anyone in our life, we know that we owe Jesus Christ an answer. His question has sunk its teeth into our hearts, and we can't get away until we've answered it.

"Whom do you say that I am?" My friend, how would you answer Jesus? Would you give him the answer that most people give? "You're a good man. You're a good teacher. You're some kind of a prophet." Or is there a much deeper, stronger conviction inside of you?

All 14 of us are still standing there silently, not knowing what anyone else in the group is thinking. Suddenly one man breaks the silence with a shout! Verse 16. "And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." As those words fly from his mouth, we all feel something inside of us come alive. That was no dry, memorized answer. Peter's words were on fire! Something in his answer was burning up all our own doubts and hesitations. We may have seen hot tears suddenly burst from the eyes of some of those men. And in our own minds, Peter's words are echoing like thunder. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God! "

In the years that followed, Simon Peter had his ups and downs. But in the end he chose, tradition has it, to be crucified upside down, rather than to retract those words. Peter staked his eternity on the fact that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Savior of the world, the only One whose death and shed blood could fully pay for all of this world's wickedness.

What proof did Peter have of that? He had already seen all the proof he needed by the time he gave this answer. Yet Peter's answer wasn't based on earthly proof. Verse 17. " And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but my Father which is in heaven." "No man or woman has convinced you of this, Peter. The Father himself has put this faith into your heart." Peter had something far more concrete than proof. He had God-given faith! Do you, friend?

Not all the disciples did. Another disciple, named Thomas, one day openly declared his unbelief. In John chapter 20, Jesus arose from the dead and appeared to his disciples that first evening in a physical body. He showed them his wounds from the crucifixion. They talked and ate supper together. Then John 20:24, 25 says, "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."

Thomas' faith in Jesus was crushed, when his Lord was captured and killed. He wasn't going to hope in anything again without proof. Thomas said, "I absolutely refuse to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead. Unless I can see him with my own eyes, and put my own finger into his wounds ; unless I have concrete, tangible, rock solid proof I will not believe that Jesus really is the Son of God." Does Jesus ever give that kind of proof? Occasionally he does. Verse 26-28. "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither your finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God ."

"My Lord and my God!" That was not just an expression of surprise. This was no time for using God's name lightly. Thomas had actually seen for himself. And now he believed it. "Jesus, you are my Lord! And you are my God! Something about his words burned and rang like Simon Peter's words back in Matthew 16. Thomas too, now knew who Jesus Christ is. Later he too would choose be put to death rather than deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the World. Verse 29. "Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." "They that have not seen"? He's talking about us, friend!

You may have never seen Jesus. I have never seen Jesus. But thank God we can read for ourselves what's written in the Bible! That's all the proof anyone needs! Verse 31 says, "But these [these verses] are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name."

a bouncing animated question mark! Jesus' question was, "Whom do YOU say that I am?" You've heard Peter's answer. You've heard Thomas' answer. Now friend, Jesus is waiting for YOUR answer.Bow your head, and make this your prayer.

" Lord Jesus, I owe you an answer.I do believe you died to pay for my wrongs. I believe you rose again from the dead. I believe that you are the Christ, the Savior of the world, the only begotten Son of God. I want to follow you, even if it means death for me. Forgive me now for all my sins. Be MYLord and MYGod from this day on. In Christ's name. Amen"

Friend, if you've meant that prayer with all your heart, your one ambition will become to be like Jesus. Pray everyday. Read your Bible everyday. Find a Bible believing church and attend there regularly.   BT
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