Ray Pritchard

"Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15)

It all comes down to this eventually.

In the Greek text the word you has an enormous stress. In fact, the word you really goes at the first of the sentence. It is as if Jesus is saying, "But you who have followed me and have known me from the beginning, who do you say that I am?" It is the greatest question in the entire universe, and it is one which every person must eventually answer.

Whenever there was a question, Peter would always be the first one to answer. And when Peter answers here, he is not speaking simply for himself, but for all the disciples. His answer is very, very specific. "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" (Matthew 16:16). In the Greek, the word the is repeated four times. You could translate it this way: "You are the Christ, the Son of the God, the Living One." Peter was saying, "I know who you are. You are the Messiah sent to save us and you are the Son of God from heaven." It is short and simple. Everything necessary for salvation is included in that statement.

I think some people would read that statement and say, "Well, that's no big deal. I would say that, too." Sure, Christians everywhere would stand up and say, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." But Peter was the first person in human history ever to say it out loud. And he said it when few were with Jesus and many were against him. He deserves all the credit, for without his confession there would be no Christian church.

To be almost right about Jesus is to be totally wrong. Why? Because we are not saved by good opinions about Jesus. We are not saved because we have a good feeling about Jesus. We are not saved because we like His moral teaching. That is not enough. We are saved because we have entrusted ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Messiah and the Son of the Living God. By his death and resurrection he has saved us from our sins.

Does it matter what we believe about Jesus? Yes, it does. The truth about Jesus is the difference between heaven and hell.

Taken from "Who Do You Say That I Am?" by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).