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Who Do You Say That I Am?

Sunday Evening Gathered Worship, August 27, 2017
Matthew 16:13-20
By Elizabeth Dede

Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” And he might ask us the same question if he were to gather with us here today.

So who do we say Jesus is? We have lots of names for Jesus, but what do they mean?

Well, for one, we call him Jesus. The angel visits Joseph, as told in Matthew 1:21, and says,  “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus is our Savior.

In the Gospel lesson today, Peter calls Jesus, Christ. Martha also calls him Christ just before Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Christ means anointed one, and by the time of Paul, everyone knew that Christ was equated with Jesus, and then the followers of Christ became Christians.

Jesus is also called Lord, a title of deep respect. It shows the relationship that Jesus had with his disciples, and then connotes Jesus’ lordship over all the earth. Again, by the time of Paul, confessing Jesus as Lord led to salvation. In Romans 10:9, we read,  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Matthew also uses the name Emmanuel for Jesus. Emmanuel means God is with us. Matthew is the only Gospel writer who uses that name, and the idea surfaces again at the end of Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus says, “I am with you always to the end of the age.”

John calls Jesus the Word, and tells us that the Word was in the beginning, eternal. The Word was with God, distinct from God. And the Word was God, in unity with God, and therefore divine.

In the Gospel reading this evening, Peter calls Jesus the Son of the Living God. Jesus is in relationship with God. God is his Father. Jesus is fully divine. God calls Jesus his Son.

Jesus is also the Son of Man. This name for Jesus teaches us that Jesus became human in the incarnation. He really walked the earth as one of us.

We call Jesus the Son of David. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus tells us that Jesus was descended from King David, and is a member of the Davidic line of Kings. Son of David is used many times in the Gospel of Matthew. We heard it last week in the cry of the Canaanite woman, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

These are just a few of the names and titles we have for Jesus. In each instance, we learn something new and different about who Jesus is. Who do you say Jesus is?

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