Focal Passages: Matthew 16:13-19; 28:18-20
A 1986 Gallup poll asked “Who do you say Jesus Christ is?” Eight in 10 Americans affirmed their belief that Jesus Christ is God or the Son of God. Yet only 50 percent of them would affirm the orthodox position that Jesus was in fact God living among men. Some mistakenly affirmed that Jesus was divine only in the sense that He was a man called by God to reveal God’s purposes in the world. If that latter view were true, our salvation would be ineffectual.
Twenty-six years later we live in a post-postmodernist culture. A coexist ethos is strong. Syncretism rules the day. Today’s answers to the same poll would yield that Jesus was an ancient philosopher, a powerful religious leader, an influential social reformer, or, if the respondent was very uninformed, that He never actually existed.
Matthew 16 records that Jesus conducted His own poll asking, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” The answers varied, but Jesus was much more interested in His disciples’ understanding. Peter voiced his conviction and proclaimed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” His answer was both correct and God-given. The Holy Spirit has revealed Peter’s discovery to every believer. Our mission is to tell and show others how they can discover Jesus as the Christ, too.
Consider these questions for further discussion: Why is Peter still right? What does the title “Christ” mean? How should one interpret the insight (v. 17), power (v. 18), and authority (v. 19) given to Peter? What are the keys of the kingdom, and what do they bind and loose? There is so much here to grasp, more than this article can convey.
In Matthew 28, Jesus challenges his disciples (and believers everywhere) with an enormous challenge to make disciples wherever they are.
This same Great Commission is ours today. How will you respond to our mission to make disciples? It is the reason we are still here. Be faithful.