The Only Answer

Hi everybody, it’s Pastor Dave from Word By Mail here with another Alone With God “Daily Journal” guide. So, if you’ve got your Alone With God journal, then open it to what is hopefully the third daily journal guide in your week. I’m recording this for a Thursday journal guide. And we are going to Matthew Chapter 16. We’ve been trying to follow the life of Jesus through a book called The Story. So, I’m just trying to kind of stay with that.

And today, we’ve got a great set of verses in Matthew 16:13-17.

In the last three devotion guides we’ve done about the life of Jesus, Jesus has been challenging everybody. He challenged the Disciples in the boat twice, and then he challenged the crowd in Matthew Chapter 6. Today, in Matthew 16, there is the final challenge – the big challenge. And it is the big challenge for the Disciples, and it is the big challenge for you and I.

So, here’s what happens. Jesus is in the region of Caesarea Philippi. This is in the far north of Israel. We love to take people to Caesarea Philippi. It’s one of our favorite places to go in Israel because Caesarea Phillip was like the pagan Las Vegas of the day. You go to Caesarea Philippi, and you could worship anything you wanted, any time you wanted. It was there for you. There were these little shrines to all of the major pagan gods, starting with the god Pan and the Gates of Hell. The grotto of Pan was called the Gates of Hell.

And then after that, there’s all these little niches in this huge rock wall. There were idols after idols put in there, pagan gods and goddesses. And you could literally stand there and choose what you wanted to worship or which pagan god you wanted to worship.

And so, Jesus takes his Disciples there and asks them the final question, gives them the final challenge.

Matthew 16, verse 13, 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Now, remember, he’s got them sitting in front of this kind of Las Vegas strip of pagan gods. And the people are worshiping all of these pagan gods, including the big one, Pan. And Jesus says, “Who do people say that I am?”

Verse 14 says, 14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” And Jesus, honestly, didn’t care about that. It was a setup. He was getting the Disciples ready for the big question by saying, “Who do other people say that I am?” in front of this incredible strip of pagan gods.

And so, in verse 15 comes the question. It is the big question. Verse 15 says, 15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” “Who do you say I am?” This is it. And in the context here, we know that this is the time when Jesus sets his face toward Jerusalem, and makes a determined move toward Jerusalem for, ultimately, the Cross and the Resurrection. And so, it’s time for the Disciples to know. They’re still working through it. Jesus gives them this incredible opportunity, this incredible challenge to look at all these idols and pagan gods of the world and say, “Listen. Here’s the thing. I need to know who do you say I am.”

And so, in verse 16, 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Simon Peter answers correctly. Now, we know that Simon Peter has some struggles with putting his foot in his mouth. But here, he just absolutely nails it. He delivers.

And then verse 17 says, 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. And this is what I’ve been trying to show you in these last few journal guides – Jesus challenges people to seek him, to seek who he truly is, to ask God who he truly is. And now, here, he asks the Disciples, “Who do you say I am?” “Do you say I’m a good teacher?” “Do you say that I had some good ways to live?” Do you say that Jesus is one way to Heaven?

Listen, guys, none of that is going to work. That’s just like the people in Jesus’ day saying, “Some say John the Baptist. Some say Elijah. Others say Jeremiah.” That’s what we have today. Well, you Christians… well, you this, and you that, and these people say, and these people say, and lalalalalala. It’s just like this huge lineup of different gods at Caesarea Philippi. And so, when Peter answers correctly, “You are the Messiah, the One Come from God, the Anointed One, the Christ, the Son of the Living God" – meaning the One Come from God. Jesus says, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.

And so, here’s the Lord’s question to you today. Who do you say I am?

Who do you say I am? 
Are you ready to answer that question?

In your journal guide, you have three sections. First, it’s meditating on this scripture, Matthew 16:13-17. Hearing my voice and allowing me to kind of paint the picture for you, then you Meditate on it and write: “What is Jesus saying?” What’s he saying to his Disciples? And I’ve kind of given that to you already in the context.

But then next, it’s Apply. How does this apply to your life? Is who you say Jesus is, does it impact you, you know, once a week? Or maybe twice a month on a Sunday or special holidays or celebrations? Do you see him as a religious teacher? A religious icon? A religious, historical figure? Guys, listen, listen. The only answer that gets you the power of Jesus in your life is in verse 16. 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

So, finally, in your journal is the Respond section. And so, just take a few minutes right now, meditate on this, apply it to your own life, and respond. And I pray in the end that you will say, “Jesus, you ARE the Messiah, the One Come from God, the Son of the Living God.”

Alright, let me Pray for you, and I’ll let you do it.

Lord, Jesus, thank you for being who you are. And Lord, we pray that we would know you for who you are. That we would know you intimately enough to know that you are the Messiah, you are the Son of God. You did come to earth to pay for our sins and to beat sin and death and the grave on our behalf, Lord. We pray that we would know you at that level, Lord. We pray that you would reveal yourself to us at that level. And Lord, Jesus, we pray, God, that you would draw us into a closer and closer relationship with you as we desire to know you. In your name, we pray, amen.

Alright, that’s it for today. We appreciate you listening. We pray you’re writing in a journal. If you want an Alone With God journal, get it at I would really encourage you to download the Word By Mail app from your app store. And if you have any questions on anything we do in this ministry, which is a lot, but it’s all Bible teaching. If you have any questions or prayer requests, you can text us or call us at (877) 790-WORD. (877) 790-9673.

Great to have you aboard with us. Go spend some quality time alone with God. We’ll see you tomorrow. Bye-Bye.

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