What Think You Of The Christ?

 

Introduction¾ Matt.22:34-46

 

This chapter of Matthew in some ways  is one of the most interesting  in his gospel.  It tells the story  of a day of questions, of criticism, of opposition and of unbelief. These questions were for the express purpose of entangling Jesus in His speech. These questions were mean and malicious  when we note the spirit of them.

 

There were questions , political, theological and religious in their nature. The political question was brought to Him by a coalition of Pharisees and Herodians two opposing parties, one believing that tribute ought to be paid to Caesar, the other believing no. The theological question, asked by the Sadducees, and had to do with the resurrection.

 

Finally, a religious question asked by the Pharisees and inquired as to which among the commandments was the greatest. Jesus answered these questions one after the other, with that unsurpassable and surprising wisdom which was always characteristic of Him. Then quite suddenly, and I think I may say, startlingly,   He turned upon His questioners and asked them a question.  What think ye of the Christ?”

 

We must understand this question. He did not ask it just as we may ask it today. We may still take this question and without any violence to its context make use of it, but we must understand how he asked it.   Let me remind you that the word “Christ” is but the Greek form of the Hebrew word “Messiah”, and apparently to the group of men who stood about Jesus this was not a question concerning Himself. He did not say to them,  or they would not so understand  Him, “what do you think of me?”   This is not the point of His question. It was a question about their own Scriptures, about their own religion about their own hope and outlook. He said to them in effect ¾Now, what is your opinion of your Messiah? Whose  Son is He?”

 

And without hesitation, and showing their perfect familiarity with their own scriptures,  they said ¾The son of David.” to which Jesus immediately replies

How  then doth David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord , Sit Thou on My right hand till I put Thine enemies underneath Thy feet? If David then calleth Him Lord, how is He his son?

They had been bringing problems to Him, this was one for them.  It is as though He had said, “You have been questioning me concerning the payment of tribute. You have brought me a problem concerning the resurrection. You have attempted to made Me minimize the value of the commandments by overestimating the value of one.  Now here is a problem for you out of your own law about your Messiah,  Whose Son is He to be?”   “David’s” was their reply, and they were perfectly correct so far. But if He be David’s son, how can He be David’s Lord?”  Please observe, they did not answer this question, and we read that they presently ask Him no more questions.

 

 I should not want  to make you feel that Jesus was simply attempting to do with them as they had done with Him. Jesus was not attempting to entrap them. He never played games or mean tricks with men. He left that wholly and exclusively to His enemies.

What then is the significance of His questions?  He intended to show them   they did not understand their own Scriptures, that according to them there were many things concerning the Messiah which they had never comprehended. 

 

One thing they did not understand was that Jesus was to be, not merely man, but God.  Because the Messiah was to be after the flesh born of David’s line He was son of David, but because He was by the mystery of miracle begotten of God, He was also to be David’s Lord.

 

But I have not selected this text that we may follow it in this  its first application.  When He asked them, “What do you think of Christ  They were looking ahead, to some time in prophecy,  they were looking on,  but as we take our New Testament and read the question which is still a legitimate question, we are not looking on, but back. 

 

We ask the question today¾   And to us the word “Christ  is not the  One for Whom the world is waiting¾ this word to us is the name of One who has come, and still is to come again.  To these men, the word “Christ” was the title of some person never seen though long hoped for. To us  the word “Christ” is the name and title of a Person ¾ A figure, seen in history, known, and Whose story we are all perfectly familiar.

 

My business this morning is to ask you quietly,  not so much as a congregation  but personally  " What do you think about  the Christ?  You see  ¾Here everything depends¾ as in all life, upon what a man thinks.  The Preacher states it this way ¾As a man thinketh, in his heart, so is he.   Proverbs 23:7

    

Your attitude towards, and your relationship to Him  are alike based upon what you think of Him. We may turn this around and state it thus ¾ “Our attitude toward Christ is the result of what we think about Christ.”  The answer to this question is not an answer that can be made by a declaration of our lips,  the answer to this question we give every day, for Jesus says 

15If ye love me, you will keep my commandments .

 

Brethren our thoughts of Christ create our attitude toward Him.

And what I am going to do what I am going be in my own life¾ depends upon what I think of Christ.  I linger here only because if I can fix your thoughts upon the importance of this question, the battle is half won. 

 

Here then is the supreme question of this hour for us   What think ye of the Christ? This morning I wish to bring you testimonies  concerning Jesus , by friends and foes alike, men of history,  who have had to answer this question as we must do today.

 

 The first is the  testimony of God Himself breaking  silence of some 400 years since the prophets of old. Jesus was here emerging from seclusion into public.  For eighteen years,   we have no record of His doings or sayings  but only the very briefest.  At 12 years of age, He passes out of sight but these wonderful words written concerning Him,

 He went down with them, and came to Nazareth  and was subject unto them.  Luke 2:51

 

I read,  but I see Him no more until He is about 30 years of age.  No human eye has observed Him closely enough to give any record of Him, but God had been watching during these hidden years.  God had been watching not only that activity in the carpenter’s shop, but  as God ever watches. He knows the man the motives,  the works and the words.  Jesus stood there as one the multitude of men did not recognize as different  from themselves.   But the Father broke the silence 

This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”

Matt 3:17

 

Here in this one man, God has found what he had in mind when in the beginning He says, “Let us make man in our own image and after our own likeness.”  Gen. 1:26.

This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”

Here then is the testimony of the Heavenly Father.

 

 

 We trace the Lord’s steps, as He confronted by Satan.For 40 days and nights He is subjected to hunger,  thirst, loneliness and was with the wild beast. Finally,Satan appears¾ but we read that Jesus was more than up to the test.  Luke’s records states¾  13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season

 

 In Luke 4:33-35 is testimony of one of Satan’s demons  ¾ it is a remarkable story.

 

33And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee,  thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.  35And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

 

 We often quote the old clique "To err is human, to forgive is divine.”  Please remember that erring is outside the original intention and purposes of God for the human family.  But we view mankind¾ down the streams of time, from the first Adam right down to this time we see man after man, tempted and falling, seduced and sinning.   But here is a Man standing upon this earth for some thirty years ¾  subjected to every onslaught of Satan himself . But on this day ¾evil looks into His face and says, “I know Thee Who Thou Art, the Holy One of God. 

 

Once in the history of the human race the demons of hell have been defeated, and from the lips of this unclean fallen spirit comes the confession concerning the purity of Jesus.   What think ye of the Christ? “I know Thee Who Thou Art, the Holy One of God. 

 

Jesus walked among us for some thirty and three years.  After ministering for some 3 ½ years, Jesus was arrested and was brought in to be charged.  Pilate the governor of Palestine, was called on to preside over the trial of Jesus.  His enemies  had brought him to Pilate. They wanted Him to die. Pilate examined Jesus closely ¾ perhaps more closely than any ever brought before him.  Remember his wife had warned him to have nothing to do with this just man.  She had suffered through the night because of Him. upon this close examination of Christ ¾

Hear his testimony  Pilate was constrained to say ¾  "I find no fault in this just man." Pilate consented to the death of Jesus, but he did not condemn Him. He believed as did his wife, that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the Living God. Read the story again  Luke 23:8-24

 

The most potent testimony of any man is from those  considered friends.  His friends walked with Him and talked with Him through out His earthly ministry. They sat at meat with Him  they followed Him from village to village, in multitudes.  Many followed Him to the desert places. They heard His parables,   Surely their testimony ought be heard.  One such disciple was Peter — 

 

Peter’s name had been Simon he was the son of one Jonah. Peter was a married  by the time he met Jesus and had moved to  Capernaum where along with his father and brother were fisherman. We are amazed as this man gives up everything to follow Jesus. For three and one half years, hearing and seeing all that Jesus did . Hear his testimony concerning Jesus ¾    The event is recorded in Matthew chapter 16 ¾ I recite it for you. Matt. 16:13-17

 

3When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist:  some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17And 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.  

 

The next  testimony I present is that of Thomas called Didymus   John 20 24-29.   The occasion? ¾appearances of Jesus after He had risen from the dead.  Jesus had appeared a week before to the disciples, but Thomas had not been present. The other disciples had assured Thomas that the Lord was alive and had indeed appeared to them.  Thomas the skeptical one was not quick to believe them.  Thomas’s reply was ¾Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.       John 20:25

 

But notice now the account  given  to us in      John 20:26-29

26And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

 

Then there is John the apostle  we read  of his testimony  in

1 John 1:1-4

 

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

 

Beloved, no man has ever been asked by God, or by angel to receive Christ without first having weighed the evidence. Either He is the Son of God, or the greatest impostor ever known.  You have listened to the testimony of friends, foes Demons and from the Heavenly Father. There are still others think of the countless martyrs of the 1st and 2nd Centuries, men and women who had died for their faith in Christ. 

 

The crowning testimony perhaps by the angels in heaven as Christ ascended back to the Father to sit at the right hand of God, hear their voice as they sing ¾

 

"Lift up your heads, oh ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord Mighty in battle, He is the King of Glory."

 

 It is impossible for a person  to live without forming an opinion of Jesus.  I beg of  you today, to be definite.   The claims of Christ are such that every man ought to make a definite decision.  Hear again John as He gives testimony concerning this Jesus of Nazareth, 

 

What think ye of Christ? 

30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.        John 20:30-31

 

 What opinion have you formed of Him…Is He indeed the Son of God?  If He is ¾ then all that's written is true. He sits right now at the right hand of God, He's coming again ¾ He’s coming to judge the world in righteousness.

 

Those of you this morning who truly believe that He is the Son of God, will you not step out on that faith  and respond to His call ¾ and crown Him Lord of All. He stands at the door knocking today, won't you let Him in ¾

 

He bids you come this morning, trusting that He is the Son of God, make that good confession, repenting of your sins, finally to be buried in baptism for the remission of your sins. Will you do that today?

 

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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