"Who do you say that I am?"
Matthew 16:13-19- This is THE question. There have been many different answers through the ages. Our response determines our destination for eternity. Upon this “rock” of revelation, Jesus said He will build His church. Some have missed Jesus’ point saying He was pointing to Peter, a man. It’s not through the programs of man, or the fleshly coercion of man, the church is built, but rather through the rock of revelation knowledge given to mankind by the Father. He removes the veil off our understanding, giving us the capability to see that which we could never see on our own. It is impossible for “religion” to open the eyes of our heart. Only God can accomplish this within us. This is the building project that will withstand the shaking of the Lord, and the attack of the enemy. That which is not built by and upon Him will fall. The fiery judgments of the Lord at the end of this age will reveal the true condition of our foundation. (See the section The Keeper Of The Keys in the Bible study Gates And Gatekeepers.)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ [5547- see the Bible study What Is A Christian], the Son of the living God."
17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal [601- see the Bible study The Revelation Of Jesus Christ] this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
5547 Christos (khris-tos')
from 5548 [see definition below]; anointed, i.e. the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus:
5548 chrio (khree'-o)
probably akin to 5530 through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service, to anoint:
a) consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing him with the necessary powers for its administration
b) enduing Christians with the gifts of the Holy Spirit
601 apokalupto (ap-ok-al-oop'-to)
from 575 and 2572; to take off the cover, i.e. disclose:
1) to uncover, to lay open what has been veiled or covered up, to disclose, to make bare
2) to make known, to make manifest, to disclose what before was unknown
The answer to Jesus’ question in Matthew 16:15 determines whether or not you are a follower of Jesus Christ, or a follower of someone or something else. According to Jesus, flesh and blood cannot reveal the knowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to us. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. This revelation comes from within by the Father. A man may make a statement concerning who Jesus is, but only God Himself gives man this saving knowledge within him where it is written on his heart.
Doctrines and theology alone can only reach a man’s mind. The Spirit of God writes it within the heart. This is the difference between dead, lifeless religion that never satisfies an inner thirst, and the River of Life that quenches the void of the heart. It is “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” that sets you free from the “religious” law of sin and of death (Romans 8:2). True Christianity is much more than a set of ideals, it is a life of obedience that produces inner freedom from the burdens accompanying the bondage of sin. The righteousness, peace and joy of God is placed within us through acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah (Romans 14:17). His life becomes your life (see the Bible study Substitutionary Life).
That is the difference between all “religions.” There are many people of different beliefs who still seek for that elusive inner peace. Jesus said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." He also said to His disciples in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." We overcome through Him.
What mankind says concerning Jesus Christ is what makes a Muslim a Muslim, a Mormon a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness a Jehovah’s Witness, etc. Muslim’s say that Jesus is just a prophet (Matthew 16:14). Mormon’s teach that God the Father used to be a man on another planet. He became a God by following the laws and ordinances of the god on that planet. He then came to this world with his wife who became a goddess, and produced a spirit offspring in heaven. These spirit offspring, which includes Jesus, the devil, and you and me, are all brothers and sisters born in the preexistence. The preexistence spirits come down and inhabit babies at the time of birth and their memories of the preexistence are lost at that time.
Jehovah’s Witness’ say that Jesus is a mere angel, the first one that God created when He started creating angels. Witnesses identify Christ as Michael the archangel. They call Jesus “the Son of God” because, according to the 1982 Watchtower booklet, “Enjoy Life On Earth Forever!” (p. 14), “the first spirit person God made was like a firstborn son to him.” They also call Him “a god” and translate John 1:1 accordingly in their Bible. All false religions need their own “holy” book in order to propagate their false teachings.
The first time the word Christian appears in the New Testament is in Acts 11:26 which says, "the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." The word Christian is from the Greek word “christianos.” It simply means “a follower of Christ.” It is taken from a couple of Greek words that speak of “the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service.” It is also defined as “consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing him with the necessary powers for its administration; enduing Christians with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
By definition therefore, a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. Because of close contact with Jesus, He has “rubbed off,” so to speak, on them. The anointing oil of the Holy Spirit has endued them with power for the administration of the Lord’s Messianic office in their life. You will know them because they have begun to look and act to one degree or another as their Lord, with whom they have become close by choice. You will know them by the fruits of the Holy Spirit that have been developed in their lives (see Galatians 5:16-25). Saying you’re a Christian is not enough to make you one. Being a Christian is not in word only, but rather in deed and character. We become like that which we follow, or are the closest to, whether that be the world, or the Lord Jesus Christ.
Concerning your defense of who you are, would you want people to hear what you said about yourself, or only what others are saying about you? Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:2-6, “In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” Within these verses Jesus makes it very clear that the only way to the Father is through Him. He is our way to salvation. He is the only truth. His life is the only life for eternity (John 1:4). It is not found in any other so-called god, man, or organization. You have to write another book, which false religions do, for any other teaching.
In John 3, Jesus declared in verses 16-17, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him." Again, salvation is in, or through, Jesus Christ. He is the self-proclaimed “bread of life” which when partaken of gives eternal life (John 6:41-58).
Later, in John 5, Jesus healed a lame man on the Sabbath. The “religious” people of His day got upset because the healed man, according to their law, was not permitted to carry his pallet on that day. Jesus answered His accusers, My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working. The next verse, verse 18, says, For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
Religious people still bound by the law always miss the point. The miracle of God did nothing for them. In their spiritual blindness they exalt their law, their day. Seventh Day Adventists do this very thing. They worship the day over the Lord of the day. If you don’t worship on their day, like the religious hypocrites of Jesus day, they will condemn you.
Jesus went on in John 5 with His rebuke of the self-glorifying religious crowd, saying in verses 39-40, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life." Isn’t this the bottom line of all false religion? They’re unwilling to come to Jesus. They are unwilling to bow their knee in humility to His lordship over their lives. Instead, they have become “a god” of their own making, with their own terms and conditions. If not repented of, it will cost them eternal separation from the giver of life, Jesus Christ.
Jesus told His religious accusers, the unbelieving Jews, in John 8:56-59, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” The Jews therefore said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple." In this passage Jesus once again defends His deity before man. Even His enemies understood His claim of being God perfectly well, revealed by their desire to stone Him. You cannot say that He was just a prophet, unless you change the Bible to fit your agenda, which many do.
Again, Jesus clearly defends His deity in John 10:24-33. The Jews gathered around him in the temple in the portico of Solomon asked Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” As evidenced by these Scriptures, and others, He personally claimed to be God. That makes Him either a crazy man, or the Son of God who must, therefore, be worshipped. Praise His holy name!
Philippians 2:9-11- Jesus Christ is the “highly exalted” One whose name is above all other names.
9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 2:8-9- In this passage, Paul refers to the “bodily form” of Christ. His followers make up His body on earth. If the world cannot see Jesus it is due to the lack of “bodily form” amongst His people. This form can only occur through the proper position of the Holy Spirit. He alone knows the position of each member of Christ. Man scrambles the form when he improperly places God’s people by his own decisions. It is not man’s place to place God’s children. This is a major contributor to the confusing picture of the church given to the world.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
9 “For in Christ there is all of God in a human body.”
9 “in him all the fullness of deity is resident in bodily form.”
(The Bible In Living English, translated by Steven T. Byington, published by the Watchtower Society, 1972- Jehovah’s Witness) The reference edition (footnote) and the interlinear version of their Bible both admit that the Greek word they translate as “divine quality” (in the Watchtower’s New World Translation) literally means “godship.”
Acts 4:8-13- Peter’s sermon concerning Jesus. The majority of today’s religious leaders still reject the stone, or “rock” (remember Matthew 16:17-19 above) of revelation that Jesus Christ is Lord. There doctrines actually promote their denomination, or group, as the way.
11 "He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone.
12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." [That name is Jesus Christ!]
John 1:1- If the apostle John were to say “a” god, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim, he would be saying that he was a polytheist (the belief in or worship of a plurality of gods). He was a monotheistic Jew who would never do that.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was [Jehovah’s Witnesses add “a” here to their own damnation] God.
Mark 12:29-32- Jesus quoting that there is one God.
29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord  our God is one Lord ;
30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'
31 "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
32 And the scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher, you have truly stated that He is One; and there is no one else besides Him;
2962 kurios (koo'-ree-os);
from kuros (supremacy); supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Mr. (as a respectful title): he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord
a) the possessor and disposer of a thing
1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master
2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor
b) is a title of honor expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants salute their master
c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah
1 Corinthians 8:4-6
4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord , Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord  your God to the test.'"
10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
John 8:58-59- Jesus’ enemies wanted to stone Him for blasphemy in this passage. When He referenced Exodus 3:14 concerning Himself, they clearly understood His claim as evidenced by their actions.
58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am [God’s self-proclaimed name given to Moses in Exodus 3:14]."
59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
“The Watchtower Society’s translation says, “This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘I shall prove to be has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14, NWT- New World Translation), and “Most truly I say to you, before Abraham came into existence, I have been” (John 8:58, NWT). So, in the JW Bible, Jesus’ words appear to have no connection with Exodus 3:14.
But you do not have to be a Greek and Hebrew scholar to prove that the Watchtower Society has twisted these verses. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own study Bibles prove that Jesus was claiming to be the I Am. Their 1984 large-print New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures with References has a footnote on Exodus 3:14, admitting that the Hebrew would be rendered into Greek as “Ego eimi”; [which means] “I am.” And their 1985 Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures reveals that Jesus’ words at John 8:58 are the same: “ego eimi” (footnote), “I am” (interlinear text).”
(“Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse” by David A. Reed, p. 27)
John 10:30-33- Jesus’ claim that He and the Father were one, making Him God.
30 "I and the Father are one."
31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
32 Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?"
33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." [Not, "a god."]
John 14:8-9- Jesus’ claim that to see Him was to see the Father.
8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?
Hebrews 1:3- Jesus is the “exact representation” of the Father. I think it’s interesting to note that one of the definitions for the Greek of “exact representation” describes a mark. Personally, I believe satan has distracted God’s people by getting them to be so concerned about the mark of the beast when we should be more concerned about receiving the mark of Christ in our lives. This mark involves the reproduction of His life within ours as we submit to the conforming ministry of the Holy Spirit over us. (See the Bible study entitled What Is A Christian.)
3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation [5481- “exact copy or representation, precise reproduction in every respect”- see below for more] of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
5481 charakter (khar-ak-tare')
from the same as 5482; a graver (the tool or the person), i.e. (by implication) engraving (["character"], the figure stamped, i.e. an exact copy or [figuratively] representation):
1) the instrument used for engraving or carving
2) the mark stamped upon that instrument or wrought out on it
a) a mark or figure burned in (Lev. 13:28) or stamped on, an impression
b) the exact expression (the image) of any person or anything, marked likeness, precise reproduction in every respect, that is, facsimile
John 20:24-31- The apostle, Thomas, calls Jesus Lord and God.
28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus is both Lord and Savior
2 Peter 1:1- Peter, calls Jesus our Lord and Savior numerous times.
1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
2 Peter 2:20
20 For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
2 Peter 3:1-2
1 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,
2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
2 Peter 3:17-18
17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Romans 10:9-13- Paul also calls Jesus the Lord and Savior of all mankind.
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;
10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him;
13 for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."