December opinions or Christmas facts?


 It’s officially Christmas season. We have shifted our thinking from turkey and dressing to gifts, trees, Santa and eggnog. Now we just have to find a place to fit Jesus in. After all it is his birthday. The world is very opinionated on who Jesus is, and it probably surfaces more during these December weeks than any other time of the year. We’re very clear on who Santa is. We’re very accustomed to buying gifts. Our schools even dismiss classes for a time to celebrate. Everyone in the modern world can identify Santa Claus in an instant, but few know how to spot Jesus and even fewer know his voice. The bottom line is, the world will tell about Jesus, the question we need to answer is are we comfortable having the world educate our children and families as to who they think he is?

Jesus stood with his disciples at the edge of the world’s view and asked in Matthew chapter 16, “Who do these people say I am?” They were in the district of Caesarea Philippi, which was populated with more Gentile people than Jewish. Their belief system was very pagan and Jesus asked his disciples who the local people said he was. Notice he didn’t ask them what they thought of him or if they liked or disliked him. He asked, “Who do they say I am,” and the disciples answer with four comparisons to mere humans. If we see Caesarea Philippi as our view of the world, then we are living in the district of the world’s influence. And, if we don’t know who Jesus is, then the world will give us its version. The world will compare Jesus to good men, powerful prophets, and miracle workers, but it will never confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Jesus then turned the question on them and asked personally, “Who do you say that I am?” Now here is where the rubber meets the road. Jesus was testing their knowledge against their understanding. Understanding is comprehension whereas knowledge is the fact of knowing. We live in a very different world than just a few years ago. We can understand what the world says about Jesus, but we better know what we say. Strong opinions have a way of diluting knowledge. Peter answered Jesus with strong knowledge in verse 16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus empowers that knowledge still to this day. He said in verse 19 that he would give authority to bind and loose to those who got the knowledge part right.

In this world, we will face many issues, many temptations and much in the way of opinions. We better be able to pass the verses 14 and 15 test or we will be absorbed into the same thinking as the world, and the world simply doesn’t know Jesus.

Let’s talk more. I would love to see you at Christpoint Church, on the square in Sparta, this Sunday at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.   


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