Day 16

Jesus Is the Messiah

from the Matthew reading plan


Matthew 15:1-39, Matthew 16:1-28, Zechariah 12:10, 2 Peter 1:16-18

BY Andrea Lucado

Scripture Reading: Matthew 15:1-39, Matthew 16:1-28, Zechariah 12:10, 2 Peter 1:16-18

I am very good at proclaiming things:

I’m going to run a marathon!
I’m going to take music lessons!
I’m going to write one poem a day!

But these are things that are easier said than done; therefore, I say them, but do not really do them. I ran a half marathon, not a full. I took voice lessons for a few weeks, then quit. I wrote about six poems—over the course of an entire year.

Declarations are good, but in order to follow through with them we must understand their implications.

In Matthew 16, Jesus asks His followers, “Who do you say that I am?” And Peter has the right answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” he declares (vv. 15-16).

But just a few verses later, we see that Peter doesn’t fully understand the implications of his declaration. When Jesus explains to His disciples what will eventually happen to Him in Jerusalem, that He will suffer on the cross, Peter is upset. “Oh no, Lord!” he says, “This will never happen to you!” (v. 22).

As my IVP Bible Background Commentary notes, “Peter had divulged Jesus’ secret identity yet had retained a faulty concept of what that identity entailed.” In other words, it’s one thing to say Jesus is the Messiah; it’s another to understand the implications this has on our lives.

Jesus proceeds to very clearly explain what it means to believe He is the Messiah, saying, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (v. 24). Three things: deny yourself, take up your cross, follow Jesus. For those of you who’ve been on this Christian journey for a while, you might be thinking what I’m thinking: Easier said than done.

All three of these commands are incredibly counterintuitive to our sin nature. “Deny yourself” implies denying your selfish desires, ambitions, and needs. “Take up your cross” implies being prepared for the ridicule and scorn of others, even being prepared for death itself. “Follow me” implies allowing Jesus to be Lord of your life, laying down your control, and giving it to Him.

I can declare that Jesus is the Messiah all day long, but do my actions reflect that I truly believe this? Have I denied myself today? Am I more concerned with what others think than I am with openly being a Christ follower? Am I allowing Jesus to control my life, or am I still gripping the wheel?

Backing up a little in this passage we see that Jesus first asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (v. 13). He wanted to know what the disciples had observed others were saying about Him. Then He asks, “But you… who do you say that I am?” (v. 15). To me, it feels like the emphasis is on that second question. Jesus is more concerned with who His followers believe Him to be than what other men are saying about Him.

Who we, as Christ followers, proclaim Jesus to be is critical for the world that is looking on. And how we act—much more than what we say—reflects whether or not we believe Jesus is the Messiah.

We can say and not do, proclaiming Jesus is the Messiah but never denying ourselves, never actually following Him. Or, through the power of Christ in us, we can proclaim and do, showing those around us who Jesus is. Pointing them to Him with our lives. Pointing them to the true Messiah.

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Post Comments (60)

60 thoughts on "Jesus Is the Messiah"

  1. Jinny says:

    Help me Jesus to deny myself and carry my cross.

  2. Lindsey Bailey says:

    This tension between flesh and heart is a reoccurring theme and rears its head in every area of our lives. Our default is to look at the flesh. We want to take in with our eyes the tangible. The physical. But, Jesus keeps steering us deeper. It’s something in which only Jesus can give us vision. Our mission is heart yet our tendency is to stop at what we can measure. We will always sell ourselves short if we don’t shift our eyes from flesh and fix our eyes on Jesus.

    1. Megan Rewis says:

      This is absolutely lovely and so well articulated. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Kersti says:

    What a beautiful reminder that it’s about grace & truth, but also words & actions. We need both.
    Christ give me strength.

  4. Danya Ho says:

    We can say and not do, proclaiming Jesus is the Messiah but never denying ourselves, never actually following Him. Or, through the power of Christ in us, we can proclaim and do, showing those around us who Jesus is. Pointing them to Him with our lives. Pointing them to the true Messiah.

  5. Amanda says:

    Just as Peter proclaimed who Christ was, but didn’t quite fully realize the implications of what that meant, the Pharisees (and many church-going people today) were all about proclaiming Christ and the letter of the law while forgetting the true spirit of the law. This is what you see in Matthew 15. John Eldredge puts it this way in his book Beautiful Outlaw: “The issues are first and foremost internal, before they are ever external….Letter, and spirit. All those external ‘rules of men’ do nothing to promote genuine holiness. But they do make people Pharisees. By the truckload.”

  6. Sarah Tolhurst says:

    One thing that stood out to me in this passage was when the disciples wondered where they were going to get food for the crowd, despite the fact Jesus had fed the crowd with five loaves and two fish only a short time ago! I was thinking ‘really? You still doubted Jesus would provide?’ Then of course I realised that’s what I do so often myself! I doubt Jesus will do something again that he has already done. So much still to practice and develop on this journey of faith ❤️

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