Theme: “This Child is the SON OF GOD!” Matt16:13-16 (esp. vs. 16)
Armour, (first in the sermon series: “What Child Is This?”).
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The words which engages us this evening are from the Gospel of Matthew: “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I Am?” Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (Mt. 16:13-16).
Saints in Christ, tonight we embark on a blessed journey deep into the canyon of the Word of the Lord, to glean and grow through our discoveries. By the Spirit’s power, we will learn the truth about the man called Jesus.
Beloved in Christ, perhaps this name is known to you or perhaps not. Voltaire is a name that is well-known yet today. Voltaire was a very famous writer in the 18th century. He is well known for his writing of plays, poems, and famous sayings. He is also well-known by the church but not for his faith but for his unbelief. Voltaire was a man who wanted nothing to do with God and religion. And in his writings he often poked fun at the Church and its leader Jesus Christ.
But when Voltaire was about to die, his attitude and his story made a real change. He suffered a stroke and knew that he was going to die. He called for a priest and wanted to take back all the things that he had written and said about faith in God. He cursed his own friends who were also unbelieving and wanted him to die unbelieving. This is what is written about him when he was suffering:
“For two months he was tortured with such an agony as led him at times to gnash his teeth in impotent rage against God and man. At other times, in plaintive accents, he would plead, “O Christ! O Lord Jesus!” Then, turning his face he would cry out, “I must die—abandoned by God and of men!”
As the end drew near his condition became so frightful that his unbelieving (infidel) associates were afraid to approach his bedside. Still they guarded the door that others might not even know how awfully an unbeliever (infidel) was compelled to die. Even his nurse repeatedly said “That for all the wealth of Europe she would never see another unbeliever (infidel) die”. It was a scene of horror that lies beyond all exaggeration.
Voltaire was a well-known man, wealthy and witty, powerful and prominent. It seemed that he had all that the world could offer him. But there was one question that had never been answered in his life. That question was the one Jesus directed to Peter, “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” (Matt. 16:15)
Voltaire lacked something—lacked the peace that comes from knowing who Jesus Christ is. We can know all things in the world. We can have all things in the world. We can know all kinds of people in the world. But if we don’t know who Christ is, that is a sad story indeed. The question is still asked today. “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” (Matt. 16:15)
A very well-known and favorite Christmas hymn asks a similar question. In reference to the Christ-Child in the manger of Bethlehem, the hymn asks, “WHAT CHILD IS THIS?”
That is the theme for our Midweek Advent Sermon series. And this evening, we will talk about the first answer to the question, “What Child is This?” With the Help of the Holy Spirit that moved Peter to respond with this courageous and bold statement; we will look at the answer: “THIS CHILD IS THE SON OF GOD!"
I. Peter's Confession was the Correct One
Though it is a mystery to us, something that we cannot fully comprehend or explain the Bible teaches us and we believe that Jesus is both God and man. And this evening we want to review again what the Bible teaches about Jesus being True God, that is, that Jesus is the Son of God!
In the Old Testament, (our reading for this evening) a very important passage is that one we have heard again and again: “... And His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God…” (Is. 9:6). There we have it. God was promising that His Son, our Savior, would be True God. And so He was called in promise, “MIGHTY GOD.”
Then the angel appeared to Mary and spoke to her. “…the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35). And after Jesus was born, the angels told the shepherds, “A Savior has been born who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11). The Bible calls Him True God. It doesn’t mince words.
We have others mentioned in the Bible who are led to the same conclusion. We could think first of Peter. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Then we think of those beautiful words of Thomas after Jesus had risen from the dead. Remember that Thomas just would not believe that Jesus was alive until he could see Him and touch Him. Then Jesus appeared and Thomas’ response was, “My Lord and My GOD” (John 20:28). Thomas referred to Jesus as God.
We think also of that bitter and bloody night, Jesus had been crucified for the sins of humanity. By His feet stood a Roman centurion, who having witnessed His suffering, crucifixion, and death proclaimed. “Truly this was the Son of GOD” (Matt. 27:45).
Even the demons show us that Jesus was and is True God! When Jesus approached some of those who were demon possessed, they would cry out to Him because they knew that He was the Son of God and that He had control over them.
And Jesus Himself taught again and again that He was sent by the Father to be the Savior of the world and that He was True God. When He was questioned just before His crucifixion, Jesus was asked, “Are You the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered in the affirmative, “Yes, I AM!” (Lk. 22:70).
We don’t have to wonder who Jesus WAS and who Jesus IS. The Bible answers that for us: “This Child is the Son of GOD!” And Peter’s answer to Jesus was the correct answer, the only answer!
II. Our Confession is that of Peter
Today we are faced with the fact that there are many who pick the Bible apart. Many of them work their very hardest to try to show that the Bible is wrong, that it is just a book of stories. Many of them are like Voltaire; they want nothing to do with God and Jesus Christ. And yet what terrors and torment awaits them as they are dying and facing eternity!
“What child is this? This is the question that is before us and the world today. There is no greater and more important question. To get it wrong puts people in the horrible position that Voltaire found himself in. What child is this? By faith our answer echoes Peter. “Jesus the Christ IS THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD! The long-promised Savior.”
If Jesus had been only a man, He could not have been our Savior, and He could not have risen from the dead. But because He is the Savior, He became a curse for us! He died that we might live, the Just for the unjust, the Righteous for the unrighteous. Jesus, the Son of God died the cruelest death imaginable, and even beyond all imagination. Not only experiencing the torture of crucifixion, but the torment of carrying the world’s sin and being forsaken by His own Father.
During these days of Advent we remember that with Jesus’ own cross that God the Father keeps His promise. And with the death of the Son of God, our sins are paid in full: “If one man’s sin brought death to all people, we are all the more certain God’s love and the free gift of His love in one man, Jesus Christ, have been richly poured out on all people” (Rom. 5:15).
No matter what the world says then, no matter what we hear from other who would deceived us, or destroy the faith we have in Him, or deny the Word of the Lord, we confess with Peter and Martin Luther saying: I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST, TRUE GOD, BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER FROM ALL ETERNITY, AND TRUE MAN BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY IS MY LORD, WHO HAS REDEEMED ME A LOST AND CONDEMNED CREATURE.
“What Child is this?” Why, none-other than the Son of GOD! Amen and Amen.
Now the peace of God…