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What Think Ye of Christ?

By Shawn Weir

There is a remarkable series of questions that Jesus Christ posed to the Pharisees who were continually trying to entangle him with tricky questions. Their cleverness, logic, and rhetoric proved futile to trip up the one God sent to speak His Words by spirit immeasurably (John 3:34). Now he was the one asking questions, but they could not answer him, and as a result they no longer dared to question him further.
Matthew 22:41 – 42a
41
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?
  1. What think ye of Christ?
  2. Whose Son is he?
These questions that Jesus Christ asked the Pharisees are questions that we need to ask ourselves. Every man and woman is accountable to who Jesus is as the Christ and every man and woman needs to acknowledge whose Son he is. The implications have both immediate and eternal impact. The questions he asked were profound but should have been easy to answer by men who were supposed to be leaders among God’s people. The questions bore great weight on that day in the temple and throughout the many centuries leading up to this very day they have lost not an ounce of their significance.
If Jesus wasn’t the Christ then he would be just one of the many on the list of would-be saviors in the world. If he wasn’t the Christ, then though there may be helpful things to learn from his teachings, no means of salvation is found by believing in him. Then he would be a false messiah, a fraudulent savior, and a failure still dead in his tomb.
If Jesus wasn’t the Son of God then he wouldn’t have been qualified to bear the sins and sicknesses of the world on the cross. If he was Joseph’s son, then the death and the sin of Adam would have passed onto him. Then the death he died would have been deserved. He couldn’t have paid our ransoms, he would have owed his own. His shed blood wouldn’t have been precious and though it was poured out, it would have been powerless to forgive our sins.
But Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. He is the one and only savior. He is God’s beloved Son in whom He is very well pleased. He is the fulcrum of all history. He is the purpose of everything God has done since the garden. He is the prerequisite to all of God’s gracious provision. He is the fundamental truth to all of God’s loving favor. He is the pattern of all that God intended human life to be. He is the demonstration of the great love of God’s great heart. He is the subject of God’s Word.
He is the summation of
all of God’s intent for mankind.

What Jesus is as the Christ and who he is as God’s Son can only elicit two kinds of responses. No one can be on the fence about it. We are all eternally accountable to this truth. God loves you and he sent His Son for you. He made him the Lord and raised him from the dead. What you believe about the truth in Jesus determines everything about you. Both, now and forever. I cannot say this any plainer: Who Jesus Christ is to you determines everything about you.
Jesus Christ posed a similar question to his disciples:
Matthew 16:13 - 17
13
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that there are so many conflicting opinions about the Lord Jesus Christ today, so it also was while he was still in his earthly ministry. To the Muslim he was a great prophet, but he never died on a cross or was raised from the dead. To the Hindu he was an avatar of the god Vishnu. To the Mormon he is Michael the archangel and the first creation of God. To the Buddhist he was an enlightened holy man and a wise teacher. To the atheist he is a questionable historical figure. To the agnostic, well, they don’t know what to think about him.
To us as Christians he is our belief for forgiveness of sin and eternal life, but to our hearts he should mean so much more. He can be as precious to us as he was to Peter.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And 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.
Peter was blessed because he answered rightly. What did Peter think of Jesus of Nazareth? Whose Son did Peter think that he was? Peter knew from the Father in heaven that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God.
Paul wrote about the kinds of responses seen when preaching the gospel regarding the Lord Jesus Christ:
1st Corinthians 1:23 – 24
23
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
The word for “stumblingblock” is the Greek word skandalon. It means a scandal, an offense, an insult. That’s what the preaching of Jesus Christ was to the Jews who refused to believe. They wanted to see their savior act like a kingly son of David, to overthrow their oppressors and restore the nation of Israel. They didn’t want a crucified messiah. Jesus Christ the Son of God was offensive to them.
The word for “foolishness” is the Greek word moras, from which we get our English word “moron.” The Greeks of Paul’s day were captivated by wisdom. They would have been much like the self-ascribed highbrows of our day. To them Jesus Christ was nonsense, idiotic, and absurd. Jesus Christ the Son of God didn’t tickle their prideful intellects.
However, unto those that believe Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. He is the Son that the Father sent to be the savior of the world (1st John 4:14). Though he was shamefully crucified God raised him from the dead and gave him a name above every name (Ephesians 1:20 – 21). All are to believe he is both Lord and Christ (Act 2:36).
Peter held onto what his Father in heaven revealed unto him about Jesus that day. He would later write:
1st Peter 2:7a Unto you therefore which believe he is precious
"Precious" is the Greek word timos and it means held in honor, esteemed, distinguished, in reputation, valuable, highly prized, dear. That’s who Jesus Christ is to those who believe. The same word is used in Matthew 13:46 when describing a merchant who found a pearl of great price (polutimos, meaning extremely valuable). He went and sold all that he had, and bought that one pearl of peerless value.
This is what the kingdom of heaven is unto those who believe the gospel regarding Jesus Christ. He and his kingdom are worth selling and losing everything for. I trust that merchant wasn’t looking for any more pearls after he obtained that exceptionally valuable one. He was captivated by it. Nothing else allured him like it did. This is how our Lord Jesus Christ is to be to us. He is our greatest treasure.
Again, consider for yourself those two questions:
  1. What think ye of Christ? 
  2. Whose son is he?
The purpose of the gospel of John is summed up in one verse. It answers the two critical questions we’ve been considering and speaks of what the rest of our lives should look like in response. John supposed the world itself couldn’t contain all the books that could be written regarding all the things that Jesus did (John 21:25), but he knew God had him write down the ones in his gospel for this reason:
John 20:31 But 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 knew he needed to write these words down so that we as the readers would believe that Jesus is the Christ. So that we as the readers would believe that he is the Son of God. And so that we as the readers would believingly have life through his name. The word believing is a participle. It is active and present tense. We have believed and found life through his name. We need to continue to believe and find life through his name.
Every man and woman is accountable to who Jesus is as the Christ and every man and woman needs to acknowledge whose Son he is. You either believe or reject this truth. No one can be persuaded of these things for you and no one can answer those questions for you. Every man and woman has the privilege of knowing for themselves personally.
There’s a great record in John 4 that illustrates this. Jesus Christ was alone while his disciples were off to buy food. He stopped by a well wearied and thirsty from his journey there. He then asked a Samaritan woman for some water, which astounded her because Jews culturally had no dealings with Samaritans. He would continue to surprise her much more than that because he then proceeded to speak of five husbands she previously had and teach her about the spirit of God that would soon be available.
John 4:25 - 26, 39 – 42
25
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
She knew that when the Messiah, the Christ, would come that he would explain such things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
This must have knocked her sandals off! She then left her water pot (another thing culturally unheard of) and went into the city exclaiming to everyone, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” Did Jesus as the Christ hold meaning to her personally? She heard him, she saw him, she knew him, and she was convinced!
However, the record goes on:
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his own word;
42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. 
She was personally convinced for herself and many others believed because of her witness, but an even greater thing soon happened in that city. Jesus Christ himself came into that city. Others got to hear him, see him and know him. Now they also had believed, not because she had been convinced, but because they became convinced personally for themselves. Those Samaritans all knew individually that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Savior of the world.
Paul also personally spoke about Jesus Christ:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Paul’s whole life was about Jesus Christ, but his service to his Lord wasn’t out of a sense of dutifulness, obligation, or empty glory. Paul was inspired by the love that it took to love him and die for him. Paul’s love for his Lord came from recognizing his Lord’s love for him. When you love something, you can’t get enough of it and you can’t do enough for it. Paul, of all men, knew that Jesus Christ is the savior for everyone in the whole world, but he was still fascinated by the fact that he “loved me and gave himself for me.”
An appreciation of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ spurs on the heart to make a decision with our lives:
2nd Corinthians 5:14 – 15 NIV
14
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 
  1. What do I think about Jesus Christ?
    He is of peerless worth. He is my precious Lord.
  2. Whose son is he?
    He is the Son of God Who sent him to be the savior of the world.
Remember the pearl merchant? After finding that one pearl of surpassing value he wasn’t looking for anymore. Nothing else compared and he sold all. Is Jesus Christ incomparable to you or does he have to compete in your heart with other objects of devotion? In our hearts, Jesus Christ as our Lord is to be unsurpassed, unequaled, and unrivaled. You’ve believed and found life in his name. Continue to believe and continue to find your life in his name. If you are struggling to sell all and only cherish him, look again: he loved you and gave himself for you.
Perhaps the great 18th-century English hymn writer
Isaac Watts put it best in his famous song,
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.