Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #5

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

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? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

Re-read Peter’s grand confession as recorded in the three Synoptic Gospel Records. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ (Mark 8:29). “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God (Luke 9:20). This, of course, is the Gospel of the Kingdom, that Jesus is Israel’s King-Messiah-Christ. Father God had expected the Jews to believe this “Good News” during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Now, be careful to notice how the Lord replied to Peter’s declaration of faith.

Again, all three Synoptic Gospel Records document it. “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ(Matthew 16:20). “And he charged them that they should tell no man of him (Mark 8:30). “And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;…” (Luke 9:21). Jesus ordered them, He commanded them, not to tell anyone that He was Christ. Why? Does He not want them to believe on Him? Is not this Gospel of the Kingdom the only way at the time for them to come to His Father by faith? Then, why does He mandate His disciples keep His identity secret?

Remember, this Gospel of the Kingdom has now been preached in Israel for at least three years. John the Baptist proclaimed it, Jesus Himself has preached it, and the 12 Apostles have proclaimed it. In spite of this spiritual light, darkness abounds in Israel. The nation itself is both unable and unwilling to see Jesus as Christ (Matthew 16:13,14; Mark 8:27,28; Luke 9:18,19); they have wasted their time with unbelief and spiritual silliness. Therefore, six months before Calvary, Jesus orders His disciples to stay silent concerning His identity. Essentially, “If they still have not believed, they will not believe, so leave them in their ignorance. Do not tell them who I the Son of Man am!”

Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #4

Monday, August 30, 2021

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? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

On another occasion, the crowds of Jesus’ audience thinned because of conviction. Although they had followed Him physically, there was no following spiritually. The conversation’s deterioration throughout the chapter shows just how willfully ignorant they are of the truth: “[Jesus speaking] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?” (John 6:63-67).

It was here—approximately the time of today’s Scripture—that “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” Jesus turned to the 12 Apostles, inquiring if they would leave Him too. “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (verses 68,69). (If you read the next two verses, Judas Iscariot, the traitor, is an exception. Like the crowd’s unbelief, his faithlessness will be soon manifested.)

Here again, Peter, spokesman of the Little Flock, has been following the Lord in faith, not mindless adherence or pretending to be a disciple when he is not. Peter has realized and openly declares he has nowhere else to turn, for only the Lord Jesus Christ has “the words of eternal life.” As in Matthew 16:16, Mark 8:29, and Luke 9:20; so Peter confessed in chapter 6 of John, “we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Let us go back to Matthew, Mark, and Luke to read Jesus’ “startling” reply….

Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #3

Sunday, August 29, 2021

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? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

After inquiring about the public’s opinion concerning His identity, and hearing all the ridiculous answers, Jesus posed a second rhetorical question. “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Do the disciples know any better? Indeed! The Apostle Peter, spokesman of the 12 Apostles and the rest of the Little Flock, replies with that simple declaration, that awesome profession of faith. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ (Mark 8:29). “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God (Luke 9:20).

Peter is an honest man, one of the few spiritually-minded souls left in his nation of millions. He has studied and received his Hebrew Scriptures by faith, and in Jesus he has seen them fulfilled scores, if not hundreds, of times. Going all the way back to John the Baptist’s ministry a few years earlier, Peter heard the preaching of God the Father in regards to His Son. Peter’s brother, Andrew, had also heard Father God’s words through John. “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone” (John 1:40-42).

Jesus is “Christ” (Greek), “Messiah” (Aramaic), God’s “anointed” (Psalm 2:2; Acts 4:26). Peter, like the remainder of Israel’s believing remnant, understands the Son of Man is also the Son of God, occupying the unique office of Humanity and Deity. Furthermore, he titles Jesus “the Son of the living God,” as opposed to dead idols of wood and stone that the heathen worship in nearby Caesarea Philippi (Psalm 115:1-8; Psalm 135:15-18)….

Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #2

Saturday, August 28, 2021

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? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

In a region where pagan gods were worshipped, where deified human leaders and usurpers of David’s throne were honored, in this land that rightly belongs to Jesus Christ the Creator, we read of that most famous exchange. The Lord Jesus asks two rhetorical questions. Firstly, He would like His disciples, His followers or students, to remind themselves of the public’s opinion of Him. What does the general population think of Him? Who is He in their eyes, in their estimation? “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). “And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets” (Mark 8:28). “They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again” (Luke 9:19). It sounds harsh, but there is no better way to describe these opinions than with the following words: what utter stupidity! Imagine such nonsense. (If it were not so tragic, it would be comical.)

Friends, think about it. Some Jews actually supposed Jesus to be… John the Baptist?! (Jesus and John lived simultaneously, and even stood side-by-side on many occasions!!) Others assumed He was “Elias” (Greek for “Elijah”), “Jeremias” (Greek for “Jeremiah”), or some other Old Testament prophet. Could the spiritual blindness in Israel be more apparent? Are they not familiar with all the scores upon scores of Messianic passages found in their Hebrew Bible? Have they not heard Jesus’ mighty words and seen His mighty works?

Yet, today, the same pervasive ignorance is found in the world—and even Christendom (supposed “Christians”)! Who is Jesus the Son of Man? Why, they tell us—“He is a good man, a great teacher, a renowned religious leader,….” They are as “informed” (yea, rather, confused) as those in Matthew 16:14, Mark 8:28, and Luke 9:19! Let us see if Jesus’ disciples have more spiritual sense than the public….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Can you explain Habakkuk 2:2?” and “What is ‘dissimulation’ in Romans 12:9?

Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #1

Friday, August 27, 2021

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? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

Read today’s Scripture in context, along with its parallel verses: “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? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16).

“And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ” (Mark 8:27-29).

“And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God” (Luke 9:18-20).

The Lord Jesus Christ is more than halfway through His three years of earthly ministry. He is far north of Galilee, in present-day Golan Heights. Caesarea Philippi abounds with pagan idolatry. Formerly, it was named “Panias,” after the Greek nature god Pan. A temple had been erected here to honor Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar (cf. Luke 2:1). Herod Philip II (cf. Luke 3:1) enlarged the city, named it after Roman Emperor Tiberias Caesar, and added the surname “Philippi” to differentiate it from the Caesarea on the Mediterranean Coast. Later, Herod Agrippa II (Acts chapters 25–26) named it “Neronias,” after Roman Emperor Nero Caesar.

Here, Christ posed His famous question, and here Peter replied with his most outstanding answer….

The Opened Ear #2

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever (Exodus 21:5,6 KJV).

How is the opened ear meaningful in the Holy Scriptures?

Let us hear (pun not intended) the words of Psalm 40 yet again: “[6] Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, [8] I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

Now, listen to (pun not intended) this passage from Hebrews chapter 10: “[5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. [8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; [9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

The Holy Spirit interpreted “mine ears hast thou opened” (Psalm 40:6) as “but a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5). Of course, here is God the Son speaking to God the Father regarding the incarnation. The complete payment for sin went beyond the shedding of animal blood: it would require God’s sinless blood. Consequently, the Father through the Holy Spirit readied in Mary’s virgin womb a human body in which Jesus’ Spirit would live. As the aforementioned physically-pierced-ear servant obeyed his master, so Christ submitted to the Father who had opened His ear figuratively. Indeed, Jesus “took upon him the form of a servant… and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Bible Q&A #870: “Can you explain, ‘Let your loins be girded,’ in Luke 12:35?

The Opened Ear #1

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever (Exodus 21:5,6 KJV).

How is the opened ear meaningful in the Holy Scriptures?

As part of the Law of Moses, the LORD God commanded the Israelites: “[1] Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. [2] If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. [3] If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. [4] If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. [5] And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: [6] Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever” (Exodus chapter 21).

The above verses are self-explanatory—although definitely unheard of in our culture (pun not intended). If the freed Hebrew servant loved his master, his wife, and his children, and refused to leave them, the master was to pierce a hole in the servant’s ear with an “aul” (also spelled “awl,” it was basically a large needle). This opened ear symbolized the bondman’s permanent submission to the master’s will in everything. Let us now turn over to Psalm 40:6-8: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Here is a “Messianic Psalm,” and it contains an expression that sounds familiar (pun not intended)….

Paul, the Viper, and the Barbarians #7

Saturday, July 24, 2021

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm (Acts 28:3-5 KJV).

What is the Holy Spirit teaching through this bizarre passage?

Doubtless, Satan is always determined to use whomever and whatever he can to undo God’s work. Since unbelieving Israel was in bondage to the Devil, they disliked Paul’s ministry and message reaching the Gentiles. Paul, as Saul of Tarsus, had once been a Christ-hater too; he was a strict observer of the Law of Moses, a self-righteous religious fanatic and teacher. Consequently, apostate Israel considered him a renegade or traitor. The very Jesus he had so passionately hated during early Acts (like them) was now the God-Man he had been faithfully serving in ministry for the last 30 years! Growing jealous of him, they retaliated by recurrently harming him and harassing his Gentile converts with false teaching (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15,22-28). With the Lord Jesus Christ personally absent from Earth, they proceeded to relentlessly attack Paul, His apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13).

The miracle of Paul surviving the snakebite in today’s Scripture is not apocryphal folklore or fantasy. It illustrates most graphically how unbelieving Israel unsuccessfully sought to damage and even destroy Christ’s heavenly ministry, His spokesman of this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. As hard as sinful man tried, as much as Satan attempted, God ensured Paul would remain on Earth until he had finished his course. Instead of the viper harming Paul, Paul kills it! Verse 5 again: “And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.” Once more, here is apostate Israel, being cast off into judgment! Her fall occurring back in chapter 7, her diminishing now complete as Acts closes (chapter 28). With Paul’s provoking ministry ending in conjunction with Acts ending, the Dispensation of Grace continues alone….

Paul, the Viper, and the Barbarians #6

Friday, July 23, 2021

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm (Acts 28:3-5 KJV).

What is the Holy Spirit teaching through this bizarre passage?

In Scripture, fire represents wrath. When fire drove the snake out to bite Paul, it parallels unbelieving Israel responding negatively to God’s judgment against them. Instead of converting to Christ under Paul’s ministry, they continued opposing the Lord’s will. Furthermore, they militantly resisted Paul’s apostleship—that Gospel of Grace being the very present truth that delayed Christ’s Second Coming wrath from falling on them!

Paul wrote during Acts: “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath [Israel’s fall] is come upon them to the uttermost(1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). Not only was national Israel content in being dead in her trespasses and sins—refusing to be God’s channel of salvation and blessing to the Gentiles—her extensive unbelief caused her to outright hate and persecute Paul because Christ had sent him to preach to the nations without her!

In today’s Scripture, Paul is preaching amongst pagan idolaters—the very people to which redeemed Israel would have ministered had they accepted their King decades prior. The heathen citizens of Melita are taking care of Paul, but the viper (Israel) strikes to kill! Gentiles are surprised. Undergoing that much destructive hostility for 30 years, Paul should have been long dead. The Gospel of Grace should have disappeared decades earlier. Yet, it has endured, and Paul has survived….

Paul, the Viper, and the Barbarians #5

Thursday, July 22, 2021

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm (Acts 28:3-5 KJV).

What is the Holy Spirit teaching through this bizarre passage?

The LORD God dealt with the world through Israel from Genesis chapter 12 (Abraham) into the early Acts period. Whether the 20 centuries prior to Christ’s earthly ministry, or Matthew through John, or the opening of Acts, Israel overwhelmingly refused to believe God’s words to her. Her people did not want to be His kingdom of priests in the Earth: they declined their privilege to go to the Gentiles. Eventually, they killed their King (Jesus Christ) and remained in unbelief into Acts. Having blasphemed (spoken) against God the Son in Matthew through John, they were forgiven; however, they were not forgiven when they blasphemed (spoke) against God the Holy Ghost in Acts chapters 1–7 (cf. Matthew 12:31,32). In Acts 7:55,56, as they are about to stone Stephen to death, he sees Christ standing—no longer sitting—at the Father’s right hand. Second Coming wrath, which should have occurred here (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34-36), was delayed!

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:11-14). Israel stumbled at Calvary, but did not fall. She stumbled and fell in Acts chapter 7, and she diminished for the remainder of Acts. Paul’s ministry began in chapter 9, but Israel refused to believe his Gospel message too….