Thou Art the Christ: Confession In the Place of Identity & Commitment

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first thirty-four verses of the first chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the beginning of the second gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact—as you begin reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find the opening words reading as follows: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to the words found within this passage, for the words which we find here call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful and astonishing truth that this particular book was a book that was centered upon the gospel concerning Jesus—and not only the gospel concerning Jesus, but also the gospel concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order for us to truly understand the words which are found in this passage we must needs recognize two distinct confessions that were made by the apostle Peter while he walked with Jesus together with the other eleven disciples. There are two specific passages found within the gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus—the words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John. In both of these passages we are brought face to face with an incredibly powerful declaration that Simon called Peter would make while following the Lord Jesus Christ—one when Jesus actually asked them who they said that He the Son of man was, and the other when Jesus asked them if they too would turn back and choose to walk no more with Him. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture concerning the wonderful and beautiful declarations Simon called Peter made concerning Jesus:

            “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? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).

            “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. NO man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? THEN SIMON PETER ANSWERED HIM, LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? THOU HAST THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE. AND WE BELIEVE AND ARE SURE THAT THOU ART THAT CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:41-71).

            The words which we find within these two passages of Scripture bring us face to face with two wonderful and powerful declarations which Simon also called Peter would make at two pivotal and crucial moments while he himself and the other eleven disciples walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. The first declaration Simon called Peter would make concerning the identity of Jesus would come in direct response to Jesus asking the twelve disciples who men said that He the Son of man was. To this Simon called Peter would emphatically respond and declare that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God. What is even more incredible and astonishing is when you think about and consider the fact that later on when Jesus asked the twelve if they would follow suit with many of the other disciples who turned back and walked no more with Jesus it would be Simon who would not only ask Jesus where they would go, but Simon called Peter would also declare unto Jesus in the company and presence of the twelve that He alone had the words of eternal life. What’s more, is Simon called Peter would also go on to declare that both he and the other disciples believed and were sure that He [Jesus] was that Christ, and the Son of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly powerful and significant these words truly are, for they call and bring our attention to the awesome truth that this Jesus whom men preached was not only the Christ, but was also the Son of the living God. This Jesus whom the disciples walked with and followed was not only the Christ, but was also the Son of God which came down from heaven. When and as we read the words which are found in the first and opening verse of the first chapter of the gospel narrative written by John Mark we find and discover this Gentile disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ beginning and opening up his gospel narrative with the strong and powerful declaration that this gospel which he was writing—this gospel which he would preach with Paul and Barnabas—would be the gospel that emphatically declared and stated that Jesus was more than just Joseph’s son, and was more than this prophet from Nazareth. This Jesus whom John Mark wrote about would indeed be the Christ and the Son of the living God.

            With all of this in mind it is absolutely necessary that we also turn and direct our attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle which was sent unto the saints which were at Rome. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the tenth chapter of this New Testament epistle you will find and read the apostle Paul writing concerning the power of preaching, and the power of proclamation. Within the tenth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome we find the apostle Paul wonderfully and powerfully speaking of this Jesus as being Lord—and not only Jesus being Lord, but also our confession as such. I cannot help but think about the fact that the words which the apostle Paul would write unto the saints which were at Rome must needs be recognized and understood when seeking to read the words found in the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark. It is when you come to the New Testament book of Acts that you will find this same John Mark who would write a gospel concerning Jesus would be the same John Mark who would travel and journey with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey after the Holy Spirit separated them from among the prophets and teachers which were present at Antioch. Undoubtedly John Mark would have been a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and was one who heard Paul and Barnabas powerfully and wonderfully preach the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Pause for a moment and consider the fact the account and narrative concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ which was written by John Mark was not one that was written by an individual who had walked with and followed Jesus Christ as were the gospels written by the apostles Matthew and John. This gospel narrative was written by one who would walk with and participate in the fellowship of ministry together with Saul who would later become known as the apostle Paul, as well as Barnabas. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for this gospel which John  Mark would be written—not only from a place of personal conviction and belief concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, but would also be written from the place of walking with the apostle Paul, as well as perhaps hearing and listening to the apostles teach and speak concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

            The more you think about and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more you will find and encounter the awesome and incredible truth that John Mark wasn’t one of the twelve disciples and apostles who walked with Christ, however, he would be one who was ordained, appointed and inspired by the Holy Spirit to write a gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you will find when you read this particular gospel is that it is one of three of the gospels which are known as “The Synoptic Gospels”—those gospels which appear to be in direct alignment with each other in terms of their message concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture is absolutely unclear how John Mark would come to write the words which are found within gospel, however, we must needs recognize and understand that he most certainly accompanied the apostle Paul on his first missionary journey together with Barnabas who would be present among the apostle and early Church which was present in the city of Jerusalem. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear as to the experiences of John Mark outside of his accompanying Paul and Barnabas on the apostle Paul’s first missionary journey, and outside of his continuing to accompany Barnabas when he and the apostle Paul would part ways and separate themselves from each other. In fact, it is in the New Testament book of Acts you will find and read concerning John Mark that the reason the apostle Paul did not want him accompanying them on this second missionary journey was because of his departure from them during that first apostolic and missionary journey. Consider if you will the following words which are found towards the end and conclusion of the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts which was the second treatise written by the Gentile physician Luke:

So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. And after they had tarried there a space, there were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us to again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches” (Acts 15:30-41).

            It is with these words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts we are brought face to face with the fact that this same John Mark who wrote the gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was the same John Mark who accompanied Saul and Barnabas on that first apostolic and missionary journey after being commissioned by the Holy Spirit to depart from Antioch for the work that was appointed and ordained unto them. We must not miss and lose sight of this, for it would be this same John Mark who—although he would depart from Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia, and although the apostle Paul would not desire that he accompany them in their trip to visit the brethren in the cities where they had preached the gospel—would be the same John Mark who would write one of the four gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. This same John mark who initially accompanied Paul and Barnabas on that first apostolic and missionary journey, and this same John Mark who would go on to accompany Barnabas to Cyprus would be one of four men who were ordained and appointed by the Holy Spirit to pen a gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know from Scripture that John Mark was not Jewish by descent and would be called in Paul and Barnabas during that first apostolic and missionary journey. There is not a doubt in my mind that during that time he walked with and participated in the work of the ministry together with Paul and Barnabas John Mark would hear the apostle Paul preach concerning Jesus, and would have also heard the words which Barnabas himself would preach having been among those who were present within the early church in the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is that the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts seems to indicate that John Mark was present at the church in Antioch at the time it was discussed among the brethren concerning the gospel being preached unto and among the Gentiles. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it would be there at Antioch where the apostles and brethren from the church in Jerusalem would come unto Antioch and most assuredly speak concerning this Jesus whom the apostle Paul and Barnabas preached on that dirst apostolic and missionary journey.

            I find it absolutely incredible and astonishing to read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for within the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark we find this Gentile believer—this Gentile disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ—who would be ordained, appointed, inspired and entrusted by the Holy Spirit to pen a gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. This John Mark would be one of four specific individuals who would be entrusted with the awesome and powerful task of writing down a narrative and account concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus the Christ and the Son of the living God. I so love and appreciate the words which are found in the opening verse of this gospel narrative, for the words found in this opening verse brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the gospel which John Mark preached was not only a gospel concerning Jesus, but at the very heart of this gospel was the wonderful and powerful declaration that this Jesus was truly the Son of the living God and was the Christ. In order to understand the gospel narrative which was written by John Mark you must needs understand that from the very outset and start of this gospel he highlights and underscores the awesome and powerful truth that this Jesus whom he was writing about would be the same Jesus whom Simon called Peter would declare was the Christ and the Son of the living God. With these words found in the opening verse of this gospel narrative we find John Mark immediately and emphatically declaring that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it would be the entire foundation upon which the gospel was written and built. If you wish to truly understand the words which are found in the gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ written by this John Mark you must needs recognize and understand that it was a gospel that had at the very heart and center of it the truth and understand that Jesus was both the Christ and the Son of the living God.

            There is not a doubt in my mind that when reading the words found in this gospel written by John Mark you must needs understand and realize that everything that is contained within it centers upon the understand that Jesus is both the Christ and the Son of the living God. If and as you read the words which are found and contained within this epistle—words which speak to and describe the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ—you must needs read them with and from the foundational understanding that Jesus was indeed and is indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. In fact, I would dare say that it is impossible to read and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and not come face to face with the truly wonderful and powerful truth that Jesus is both the Christ—the anointed One—and the Son of the living God. By emphatically speaking and declaring that Jesus is the Christ we are in fact aligning ourselves with the words which the Law and the prophets spoke concerning Him, and we are declaring concerning Jesus that He was and is indeed the anointed One whom the Law and the prophets spoke of and foretold. When Simon called Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ he was emphatically declaring that He was the anointed One whom the Law and the prophets had spoken of, and when Simon called Peter declared that Jesus was the Son of God he was aligning himself with the declaration found in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel concerning the voice speaking from heaven and declaring that Jesus was the beloved Son of the Father. Before John Mark even begins describing the narrative of the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we first find him setting the foundation which was built upon the awesome and powerful truth that this Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that this Jesus was indeed the Son of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely tremendous this particular truth truly is—particularly and especially when we consider the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture which is found in the tenth chapter of the epistle written by the hand of the apostle Paul unto these dear saints and brethren:

            “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascending into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel, for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:6-17).

            We must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for the words we find here in this passage bring us face to face with the understand that if we confess with our mouth “the Lord Jesus” and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. That which John Mark is doing here within this gospel narrative is essentially setting in motion the declaration that words which were penned are indeed a gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus, but also a wonderful and powerful declaration that this gospel which was written concerning Jesus was a gospel that highlighted, underscored and had at the very center and foundation of it the truth that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that this Jesus was indeed the Son of the living God. If we truly going to understand—and not only understand, but also believe the words which are found within the gospel narratives which were written by these four authors—we must needs recognize and understand that at the very heart of our belief is that Jesus is the Christ, and that Jesus is the Son of the living God. If you want to truly believe the words which are found within the gospel narratives you must needs realize and understand that this Jesus who was written about was more than just a prophet, but was indeed the Son of the living God, and was the Christ. In fact, I would dare say that you cannot truly call yourself a disciple and follower of Jesus if you cannot and do not approach it from the understanding and belief that He is both the Christ and the Son of the living God. What’s more, is that it was this question of who was the Christ that so perplexed the scribes and the Pharisees when they saw John the Baptist teaching and preaching in the wilderness—and not only teaching and preaching, but also baptizing men and women unto and for the remission of their sins. What’s more, is that the idea and understanding that Jesus was and could be the Son of the living God was something that was incredibly hard for many of the Jews, as well as many of the scribes, Pharisees, and elders of Israel to believe, understand and accept. In fact, if you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find the scribes and Pharisees coming unto John asking him if he was the Christ, as well as the Jews being offended with Jesus because He claimed He was the Son of the living God. Consider if you will the following words which are found within these two passages of Scripture:

            “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may hive an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizes thou then, if thou be not that Christ, not Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the wordl. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from haven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:19-36).

            “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me, and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not the testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his life. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father Himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:16-47).

            The words which are present before us within these passages found within the gospel narrative written by the apostle John are absolutely astounding and captivating when you take the time to consider them, for if there were two stumbling blocks that were present among the Jews and the religious elite during the days and times Jesus walked upon the earth they were the belief that Jesus was the Christ, and that Jesus was the Son of God. When John the Baptist was present on the scene teaching and preaching the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven, as well as baptizing men and women unto the remission of sins those in Jerusalem would send priests and Levites—not only inquiring what he answered and spoke concerning himself, but also whether or not he was indeed the Christ. What makes the words which are found in the first chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John so incredibly powerful and worth thinking about and considering is when you think and consider the fact that those words call and draw our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that John the Baptist never made the declaration that he was the Christ. The simply fact that those in Jerusalem sent unto John the Baptist inquiring of him whether or not he was the Christ suggests and reveals the truth that they were indeed looking for the Christ, and that there was indeed the expectation and anticipation that the Christ and the Messiah would indeed come. John the Baptist appeared and emerged on to the scene seemingly out of nowhere and not only taught and preached concerning the kingdom of heaven, but was also baptizing men and women for and unto the remission of their sins. It would be these actions of John the Baptist which would prompt the religious leaders and the religious system of that day to inquire whether or not he was the Christ whom those in Judaea and Galilee were hoping, waiting for, and expecting. The truth of the matter is that John the Baptist emphatically declared that he wasn’t the Christ, that he wasn’t Elijah, and that he wasn’t that prophet. Instead, that which John the Baptist declared concerning himself was that he was the voice of one crying out in the wilderness as was written and spoken by the ancient Hebrew prophet Elijah. Oh this is important and imperative for us to understand, for when Jesus would emerge on to the scene and in the picture they would also ask Him whether or not He was the Christ, and in fact there would even be one time when the scribes and Pharisees would even ask Him to speak unto them plainly and declare whether or not He was the Christ.

            What makes this concept of Jesus being the Christ as being even more remarkable is when you think about and consider the imprisonment of John the Baptist. If you read the gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew and the Gentile physician Luke you will find them both writing of the account of John the Baptist in prison. The narrative which was written by these two authors would find and show John the Baptist in prison—and not only being in prison, but also experiencing a moment of doubt within his heart and soul concerning the identity of Jesus. This same John who emphatically declared concerning Jesus that He was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, and this same John the Baptist who would see the heavens opened, would see the Spirit descend upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove, and would also hear the voice of the Father speak from the midst of heaven declaring that this was His beloved Son would find himself in prison and doubting whether or not Jesus was indeed the Christ. It would be this  doubt which John the Baptist would find present within his heart while in prison that would prompt him to send two of his disciples unto Jesus asking whether or not Jesus was the Christ, or if they needed to look for another. It’s truly something worth thinking about and considering how the priests and Levites came from Jerusalem asking John the Baptist if he was the Christ, the scribes and the Pharisees would ask Jesus to speak unto and tell them plainly if He was the Christ, and even when John the Baptist was in prison he would send two of his disciples unto Jesus asking if He was the Christ. What’s more, is that twice within the gospel narratives we find the apostle Peter emphatically declaring that Jesus was indeed the Christ—and not only that He was the Christ, but was also the Son of the living God. It is this particular truth which we must needs realize, recognize and understand, for if we are going to believe that which is found within the gospels—and not only believe that which is found in the gospels, but also believe in Jesus—we must needs settle in our hearts that Jesus is both the Christ and the Son of the living God.

            In the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews the author emphatically declares that without faith it is impossible to please God, for those who would say they have faith must not only believe that God is, but must also believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. It is truly something necessary for us to recognize this important truth, for just as vital and critical as it is for us to believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him, so also must we believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. Two of the greatest stumbling blocks which were found within the hearts of the Jews, as well as within the hearts and minds of the scribes, the chief priests, the elders of the people, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the teachers of the law centered around Jesus’ identity as the Christ and as the Son of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for while the Jews struggled with the reality and concept of Jesus being the Son of God, and while the religious elite of Jesus’ day struggled with whether or not He was the Christ, we must needs settle it within our hearts that Jesus is both the Christ and the Son of the living God. There must be absolutely no doubt within our hearts that Jesus is indeed the Christ, nor that Jesus is the Son of the living God. That which we find in the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew and the Gentile physician Luke bring us face to face with John the Baptist who was in prison, and while in prison doubted and wondered if this same Jesus whom he had previously spoken about was truly and was indeed the Son of the living God. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found within teach of these gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus, and that time when John the Baptist questioned and doubted whether or not Jesus was indeed the Christ, or if they should look for another. Consider if you will the following words which are found in these two passages of Scripture beginning with the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:

            “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitude concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I sat unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:1-15).

            “…And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the dear hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Luke 7:18-23).

            Oh please don’t miss the awesome and incredible importance of what is found within these two passages, for although they both describe the same instance and occurrence within the life of John the Baptist concerning the identity of the Lord Jesus the Christ, they bring us face to face with the awesome truth that even John the Baptist doubted and struggled with the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ when he found himself in prison. It was there in that dark prison cell John the Baptist heard of the works which Jesus had wrought among men, and it would be upon hearing those works John Baptist would send two of his disciples unto Jesus asking whether or not he was the One who was to come, or if they should look for another. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how truly incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and wonderful truth that when we read the gospel narratives there stands at the very heart and center of them the understanding and belief that Jesus is indeed the Christ—and not only that He is the Christ, but also that He is the Son of the living God. It is in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find the religious elite within Jerusalem sending priests and Levites unto John the Baptist inquiring and asking him whether or not he was indeed the Christ. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding those days is when you think about and consider the fact that during those days one of—if not the greatest question that was asked and which men inquired about was whether or not the Christ was among them. It would first be asked whether or not John the Baptist was and could in fact be the Christ, and it would be John the Baptist who would declare that He was not the Christ, nor was Elijah, nor was the prophet. Even when John the Baptist was removed from the picture the question would then be directed toward Jesus as the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests, the elders of the people, the teachers of the Law, the Sadducees and others would ask and wonder whether or not Jesus was indeed the Christ. Even when the apostle Peter made the declaration that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God at Caesarea Philippi we find Jesus declaring unto him that flesh and blood had not revealed it unto him, but rather His Father who was in heaven. OH how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that those who not only acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ, but also believed that He was the Son of the living God were those to whom it was revealed by the Father in heaven. It was Jesus Himself who emphatically declared that flesh and blood had not revealed this unto Simon called Peter, but rather it was His Father who was in heaven.

            The more you think about and consider these words the more you will be brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that two of the greatest questions surrounding those during the days and time of Jesus were whether or not Jesus was indeed the Christ, and whether or not He was the Son of the living God. Not only this, but the idea and concept of Jesus being the Son of God—and not only His being the Son of God, but also His claiming He was the Son of God—was a source of great offense and contention among the Jews. It is when you read the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will be brought face to face with the fact that the Jews were not only offended with Jesus, but also persecuted Jesus because He healed on the sabbath and because He claimed that He was the Son of the living God. We must needs realize, recognize and understand just how incredibly powerful this truly is, for when you come to the opening verse of the gospel narrative written by John Mark you will find him writing and speaking of Jesus as both the Christ and the Son of the living God. We cannot quickly overlook and sidestep this particular truth and reality, for this reality calls and draws our attention to the wonderful and powerful truth that John Mark believed that Jesus indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to come to the opening verse of the gospel narrative which was written by John Mark and be forced to encounter and come face to face with whether or not you personally believer that Jesus is the Christ, and that Jesus is the Son of the living God. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for if you wish to understand the gospel narrative written by John Mark you must needs understand, acknowledge and believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. It would be in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John that we encounter Jesus as the Word which was in the beginning with God, was God in the beginning, and was the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It is in the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew that we not only believe that Jesus is the Son of David, but also the Son of Abraham. It is in the gospel narrative written by Luke that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God as being traced all the way back unto Adam who was the first man.

            I absolutely love the words which are found within this passages of Scripture, for at the very beginning and opening of the words found in this narrative we are brought face to face with whether or not we believe that Jesus is the Christ and whether or not Jesus is the Son of the living God. We find ourselves being presented with the truly awesome and powerful truth that Jesus is indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God, and how we approach the gospels is directly dependent on whether or not we believe that He is the Christ, and whether or not we believe that He is the Son of the living God. It was revealed unto the apostle Peter that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God, and he would not only make this declaration at Caesarea Philippi, but he would also make the declaration at Capernaum when Jesus taught in the synagogue. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words which are found in the first and opening chapter of the gospel narrative written by John Mark we are brought face to face with how absolutely awesome and powerful it is that this gospel was about Jesus—and not only that this gospel was about Jesus, but also that this gospel was about Jesus who was and is the Christ, and the Son of God. John Mark sought to bring his readers and his audience face to face with the reality and the truth that Jesus was the Christ and was the Son of God from the beginning, for if you could not accept and believe that Jesus was the Son of God and was the Christ you also would not and could not understand, accept and believe that which was written concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. If and unless you are willing to accept and believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God you will have an incredibly difficult time reading of the words which He spoke and the works which He wrought while He was the Word become flesh and dwelling among us. From the very outset of the gospel narrative written by John Mark we are brought to the place where we must needs acknowledge that Jesus is both the Christ and the Son of the living God.

            As I sit here writing these words I cannot help but feel compelled to ask you who are reading these words whether or not you truly believe that Jesus is the Christ, and whether or not you believe that Jesus is the Son of the living God. We know from the words which the apostle Paul wrote that those who confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus, and those who believe in their hearts that He was raised from death to life are saved. With this being said, however, we must also recognize that we are being brought and have been brought into the place where we must acknowledge and admit that Jesus is both the Christ and the Son of the living God. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in the gospel narratives written by the apostles Matthew and John that Simon called Peter would make a confession that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God when Jesus asked them point blank who they said that He the Son of man was. What’s more, is that when you come to the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John you will find that when Jesus asked the twelve if they too would turn back and walk no more with Him it would be Simon called Peter who would first ask where they would go, and would then declare that Jesus alone had the words of eternal life. Not only this, but Simon called Peter would also once more declare that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God. CONFESSION IN THE PLACE OF IDENITY! CONFESSION IN THE PLACE OF COMMITMENT! In all reality we must needs realize and understand that we must needs settle and determine within our hearts that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God, for it will not only settle and determine the matter of the identity of Jesus within our hearts, but it will also solidify our commitment to Him. Jesus asked the twelve if they too would turn back and walk no more with Him, and it would be Simon Peter who would stand firm upon his commitment to Jesus because Jesus was the Son of the living God, because Jesus was the Christ, and because Jesus had the words of eternal life. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how truly awesome and powerful this truly is, for it brings us face to face with the truly remarkable and powerful truth that acknowledging, admitting and believing that Jesus is the Christ can and will settle it within our hearts when we speak about who we believe Jesus to be, as well as understand our commitment to Him.

            The gospel narrative which was written by John Mark would begin with the words “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” and we must needs realize and understand how absolutely necessary this truly is when we consider the awesome and wonderful truth that this gospel is one that highlights and underscores the truth that Jesus is indeed the Christ, and that Jesus is indeed the Son of the living God. What’s more, is that John Mark would go on to describe how the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God would begin with that messenger and that prophetic voice who would go before Him and before His face to prepare the way, and to make ready a people to meet the Lord. When we think about the truth surrounding Jesus the Christ and the Son of the living God we must needs realize and understand that the truth surrounding Him would indeed and would in fact begin with John the Baptist who was not only raised up to be a prophetic voice that would prepare the hearts of men for the manifestation and appearing of Jesus the Christ, but would also teach and preach concerning the Lord Jesus. If and as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture—not only will you find John the Baptist preparing men and women through baptism and preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, but you will also find him speaking concerning Jesus the Christ. What we must needs recognize and understand is that the understanding concerning Jesus as being the Christ would first and foremost come through the prophetic witness and message which John the Baptist would proclaim—a wonderful and powerful truth that was emphasized when the gospel authors presented the truth concerning John the Baptist as preaching in the wilderness, and John the Baptist proclaiming the truth concerning Jesus the Christ. When we think and speak about the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs realize and understand that John the Baptist was one who wonderfully and powerfully introduced men and women to the truth that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that Jesus was indeed that one whom the Law and the prophets spoke about. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first and third chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

            “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the truth Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. NO man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:6-18).

            “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Artt thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizes thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing” (John 1:19-28).

            “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).

            “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifeth: and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:22-36).

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that if we say we are disciples and followers of Jesus we must needs be those who not only accept, but also believe that Jesus is both the Christ and the Son of the living God. What’s more, is that it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize that such a revelation comes not from flesh and blood, nor does it come from the opinions of man. Such a revelation that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God comes from the Father in heaven, and the reason Simon called Peter and John the Baptist were able to emphatically declare that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God was because it was revealed unto both of them by the Father who was in heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely astonishing this reality truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and powerful truth that both Simon called Peter and John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God, and here at the very opening and outset of the gospel narrative written by John Mark is another one who is not only writing the gospel concerning Jesus, but is also writing the gospel making the same declaration that Jesus is the Son of God, and that this Jesus is the Christ. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely necessary this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the belief within our hearts that Jesus is indeed the Christ, and that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. Simon called Peter acknowledged and twice declared that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God, and John the Baptist bore record that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and that Jesus was the Son of God. What’s more, is that now we find John Mark who was a Gentile disciples and follower of Jesus who was also making the same confession and declaration. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are those who not only profess that we are disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also that we believe Jesus is indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. We must needs be those who recognize, understand, acknowledge and believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God, for just as those who profess to have faith must believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, so also must those who profess to be followers of Jesus believe that He is the Christ and the Son of the living God.

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