Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

J.R. Waller, MBA
Latest posts by J.R. Waller, MBA (see all)

Key Points

  • Reflection is important in the Christian life. It is vital that Christians know what they believe about Jesus and know what the world thinks about Him.
  • A proper understanding of Jesus as savior and father has nothing to do with our own definitions. Rather knowing who God is comes by revelation and by accepting His grace alone.

13) 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?

14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 16:13-17 (KJV)

What do people you know say about Jesus? What do you think of Him? Who is He to you?

Whether you are skeptical about Christianity or a devout Christian it’s important to ask yourself these questions every so often. Reflection is something I learned to utilize early in my walk with Jesus and I am always grateful for it.

Look into the mirror, see how you’re doing


My favorite substitute teacher at my Christian high school was a former pastor. He always gave us a Bible lesson before any class he happened to be substituting for.

We had a Bible class each day and chapel once a week but his lessons were always a bit different. They were a fresh break from the routine. He taught us introspection, which is not something most middle or high schoolers often do.

His lessons were called “daily mirrors” and he would always ask us to “look in the mirror, and see how you’re doing.” Irrespective of the topic, He always encouraged us to examine ourselves in light of scripture.“When we read and look into the Bible it reflects things back to us about ourselves. It is like a mirror for our souls.”

He taught that the Bible is like a mirror, and that analogy has stuck with me ever since because it’s so true. When we read and look into the Bible it reflects things back to us about ourselves. It is like a mirror for our souls.

It shows the lost their true condition, their need for a savior and how to be rescued from their state of sin. That’s the gospel. The Bible is our handbook for knowing God and making Him known to others.

It also shows Christians how to live a Godly life, convicts them of where they need to improve and comforts them in times of need. It makes the man of God complete. (2 Tim. 3:16-17 KJV)

Without the Bible we would have no standards, no creeds, no catechisms or doctrine. We need its guidance daily and are to study it day and night for that very reason. (Josh. 1:8 KJV)

What the world says about Jesus


In our main verses Jesus taught in a way similar to my former substitute teacher. He asked the disciples to define who they and the world thought He was.

Questions are powerful and in some ways they are better than direct statements. They cause people to look into the mirror and examine what they know. This was exactly what the disciples did. As they thought through Jesus’ questions they considered not just the beliefs of others but their own.

The first question was what does the world say about who Jesus is? Reader, if you are not a Christian what do you know about Jesus from the world? If you are a Christian do you know what the world thinks about your savior?

Notice what the disciples said. They gave answers such as John the Baptist, Elias and Jeremias to name a few. Yet none of those were right.

As believers we must be aware of the reality that the world has thousands upon thousands of definitions of Jesus, yet many of them are wrong. “As believers we must be aware of the reality that the world has thousands upon thousands of definitions of Jesus, yet many of them are wrong.”

Some are quite compelling such as those espoused by cults. Liberal scholars go so far as to believe Jesus existed yet they denounce His divinity. Others acknowledge Jesus to be a good teacher but they do not concede to Him the resurrection.

Some believe that He can even save them, but they disregard grace for works and try to attain salvation on their own terms without Jesus’ necessary intervention in their lives. Others out-rightly dismiss Him. All of these responses are woefully inadequate and stem from false definitions of Jesus.

Many people have a notion of who Jesus is, but that is not enough. Additionally, whenever someone denies the gospel for whatever reason, they are doing so based on their own definition of Jesus.

Jesus bids come, that’s Biblical, but to deny that is to ignore who He is. He is love and bids sinners repent, believe and follow Him. (Rev. 3:20 KJV) However, if one does not believe in what Jesus or the Bible says about Him, that person will not come to Jesus as he must and instead relies on his own definition of Jesus and works towards God on his own terms.

Regardless of what people think about Jesus their definition of Him goes no further than their own self-deception and the wisdom of their own eyes. (I Cor. 3:18-19 KJV, Prov. 3:7 KJV)

When their explanations of Jesus are challenged they either refuse to accept the truth or they refuse on the grounds of supposed contradictions between what they have held to be true and what the truth really is. This confusion sadly keeps many from Christ. Just as the serpent deceived and confused Adam and Eve in the garden, people are still questioning God’s exact words to this day.

Many will sit idle in the midst of confusion. Regrettably, fence sitters never make it to heaven. People go through this life either believing in Jesus as their savior or not. There is no other definition that works outside of the gospel. Jesus is the only way to God. (Jn. 14:6 KJV)

It is important to know what the world thinks about Jesus because it makes us who are believers more effective witnesses. When we come to people already having an inkling as to where they are coming from, our responses help the lost see the truth more clearly. This is especially true when we can compare their ideas to the gospel.

It also helps Christians to be able to give an answer for the hope they have. (I Pet. 3:15 KJV) We are only at our best witness when we know where other people are coming from. It is not only important to know what other people think about Jesus though.

It is also important that we examine our own hearts for what we think of Him. Our effectiveness will only be measured by how much we know and understand what God means to us individually.

What do you say about Jesus?


Who then is Jesus really? If someone were to ask you as Jesus did: But whom say ye that I am? What would be your response?

Who Jesus really is has nothing to do with what the world says about Him. Ultimately when we are face to face with Jesus at the end of this life each person will give their own account and have to answer for themselves. (Heb. 9:27 KJV, Rom. 14:12 KJV) This is why it is critical that we know Him enough to be able to call Him our savior.

This is why it is paramount in this life for each person to ask of themselves: what does Jesus mean to me? This goes to the deepest part of our souls. We have to look away from what others have told us and examine our own hearts. God speaks and His voice is the one that ultimately matters.

The proper answer also depends on if He knows us, for if He does not then we will be cast away from Him forever. (Matt. 7:23 KJV)

What we see here is that knowing God as savior means there is a relationship. We know Jesus as savior and father and He knows us as His sons and daughters. Yet we are not born naturally into this relationship nor can we attain it on our own. “…knowing God as savior means there is a relationship. We know Jesus as savior and father and He knows us as His sons and daughters.”

For instance, we may dress the same way as other Christians. Our actions may be benevolent. We might even attend church and yet none of these matters if we do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our savior and father. God does not call us His child nor do we call Him our father based on mere transactional behaviors. Those are not the basis for a relationship.

God is not our savior if we just work at trying to please Him. Nor are we His children if we choose not to accept His grace. The vital ingredient that begins a true relationship with God is a revelation.

Knowing Jesus begins with a revelation


15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 16:15-17 (KJV)

Jesus is a revelation. Notice Jesus’ response to Peter, He calls him blessed because God has “revealed” this to him. Peter knows Jesus as Christ and the Son of the living God because God has revealed it to him.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Rom. 10:17 KJV) Who Jesus really is, Christ and the Son of the living God as Peter properly responds, is not something we just come to know without God’s intervention in our lives because by our nature we are dead in sins. (Eph. 2:1 KJV) In fact, we naturally walk according to the world as the children of wrath. (Eph. 2:2-3 KJV)

Being naturally dead means we need to be revived and this is only done when we place our faith in Christ to save us and this is only done in response to His revealed word and plan of salvation for us.

Christianity is an awakening because only what is dead can be awakened and revived. This is why being saved means being spiritually born again (Jn. 3:5 KJV) and when you are born again you certainly know it.

It is a total transformation and the most glorious thing that can happen to man. (2 Cor. 5:17 KJV) It is a full restoration and reunion with God and it is precisely because we must rely on God and who He says He is to save us that makes it so profound and special.

Conclusion – Salvation is all of grace


8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

The hinge by which our salvation rests is Jesus’ substitutionary death for us. We didn’t deserve it but He died for us so that we might have enteral life by Him and through Him. (Rom. 5:8 KJV)

Salvation is all of grace. We cannot revive ourselves, we need God’s “quickining” power to save us and awaken us to new life. (Eph. 2:5 KJV) The reason Christians know Jesus is because Jesus has revealed Himself to them as their savior through the gospel and His Holy Spirit.

He in turn knows us because He saves us and revives us to enteral life once more and adopts us as sons into His family.

To truly know Jesus His gospel must be preached and in that His Holy Spirit draws and reveals Himself to men. (Jn. 12:32 KJV)

“Whenever God reveals Himself He also reveals a choice: believe or deny.”Knowing Jesus as savior comes from a realization of our sinful condition and our need to be rescued from ourselves and eternal death. It acknowledges and accepts His way as the only way. It leaps and rushes to embrace grace alone.

Therefore, a proper understanding of who Jesus is not only begins with revelation, it also begins with acceptance of His grace.

Whenever God reveals Himself He also reveals a choice: believe or deny. All have the choice to believe in Jesus as savior, as the only one who can take away their sin, as the only one who can justify them with God because He took their sins upon Himself through His death for all mankind. Or we can choose our own way, and our own definitions. We can trust Jesus and gain everything or trust ourselves and lose everything.

The former leads to life eternal and a restored relationship with Him. The latter eternal death and separation from God. The former relies on faith and trust in God as He has revealed Himself as savior. The latter relies on our own definitions.

Salvation is a gift and a gift must be received. We can take the path of works, but that is not God’s definition of salvation. We can create our own god and follow him, but that god will not be the way the truth and the life. (Jn. 14:6 KJV)

So then who do you say Jesus is? When you look into the mirror of the Bible how are you doing? Do you see yourself as a lost sinner or as a sinner saved by grace?

Have you accepted His grace and forgiveness? (Rom. 10:9-10 KJV)

The response is up to you. He is rich in mercy and loves you so much. That is who He really is. Are you willing to accept that? It is my prayer that starting today you will be able to say that Jesus is your loving savior and father, the Son of the living God. Amen.

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