Rabbi Schneider - Are You Truly a Christian?
I'm now in a Holy Land series. I'll be taking you into the land of Israel, and we'll be focusing today on a place called Caesarea Philippi. It's ancient Greek city. All that's left today of it, however, are ruins. It's uninhabited, but it's been preserved as an archaeological site. You see, one of the most important revelations contained in the New Testament took place in Caesarea Philippi as Jesus was ministering there. I'm praying right now for you, that as you tune in through this edition of Discovering the Jewish Jesus, Father God is gonna touch your heart with revelation, and that you're gonna be supernaturally changed through his Word. God bless you, beloved one. I love you and Shalom.
God bless you and Shalom, my friends. Thank you for joining me in our Israel series. I'm here today in Caesarea Philippi in the land of Aratz Israel. I'm going now to one of my favorite portions in God's Word, Matthew, chapter 16, where we find one of the most important questions that anyone can ever ask. Jesus said to Peter, who do you say that I am? Let's pick up in the Word of God. I'm beginning now Matthew, chapter 16: Now when Yeshua came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, Who do people say the Son of Man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Now I'm gonna continue, but before I do, I want to just put some emphasis here. Jesus said, Who do the people say that I am? I want to ask you a question right now. Who do you say that Jesus is?
Now I know that the vast majority of you that are watching right now would say, well I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that Jesus died for my sins on the cross. But let me challenge you with a strong statement. Many of you that would say I believe that Jesus is God's Son, when you get into a conversation with someone that's not a Christian, someone from another religion, and they don't believe in Jesus, you're reluctant to tell them that Jesus is the only way to God. In other words, many Christian people today, they believe that the highest standard of moral excellence that one can have is the standard of tolerance. They basically have a concept, well I'm a Christian. But you know what? Whatever you are, if that works for you, that's fine. I'm not gonna judge you. But I want you to know when Jesus asked them, Who do you say that I am? The answer that they needed to respond was, You are the Son of God and no man comes to the Father but by you. That's what Jesus said. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. And he said, And no man comes to the Father but through me.
And so let's say for example that you feel you're a Christian right now, and you get into a conversation with someone from another religion. And you respect their point of view but you respect it in such a way that you're actually saying to them, you know what, if that's good for you, I'm not gonna make any waves. If that's good for you, I'm not gonna challenge you. I'm a Christian, but if you're something else, you know, if that's what you are, that's fine. But I want you to know, if that's what your attitude is, you're really not a Christian in the Biblical sense of the word, because Jesus said, Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man cometh to the Father but through me.
So this is an important question. Who do you say that I am? Many of you that are watching, you're too tolerant of other people's faith. I'm not talking about other movements within Christianity. I'm talking about people that don't believe that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is the only way to God. Listen, if you are truly a Christian by the definition of the word, you have to be willing to say to people, "Jesus is the only way to God because that's who Jesus said that he is". You see, many of us have heard of a very famous author, and this author said that Jesus either is who he said he was, he's a liar, or a lunatic. Liar, lunatic, or Lord, he can't be anything else.
See there's, I'm for example, I'm Jewish. And many Jewish people say, well I believe that Jesus is a prophet, but I don't believe that he's the Messiah. But you know that really isn't a plausible position, because the only record that we have, beloved ones, of who Jesus is, is the New Testament. And we have a few different sources that say a few minor things about him. For example, the ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote to us that there was a person that lived, Yeshua of Nazareth. He was accused of being a sorcerer. He did miraculous things. We have a historical record by the Jewish historian, Josephus, that there was a man that lived by the name of Yeshua of Nazareth, 2,000 years ago approximately, that he said he was the Messiah, that he was accused of being a sorcerer. And that this is, this is, but we don't have the actual words of Jesus any place but in the New Testament.
So the Jesus that's the historical Jesus, beloved, the only historical Jesus there is, is the Jesus that's revealed to us in the New Testament. And Jesus said that he was the Son of God, that he was the Messiah. He said before Abraham was, I AM, okay. And so to say as some would say that I believe that he was a prophet, but just one of many, that's not really a logical answer because the only way we know who he is, is by what the New Testament records as to what he said he was or who he said he is, and the record of the other apostles concerning who he said he is. And so once again, if we say he's just a prophet, it's not a logical answer. He's either who he said he was, which is the Messiah the Son of God. Or he was a lunatic. He thought he was somebody that he wasn't. Crazy, like so many people in our mental institutions today; we've got many people that think they're Jesus. They're in our mental institutions. Or he was a liar. He was claiming to be somebody that he knew that he wasn't, you know, deceiving people.
So as C.S. Lewis said, he was either a liar, the lunatic, or the Lord; liar, lunatic or Lord. So Jesus said, who do you say that I am? You can't just say that Jesus is good for you, but that you're not putting a demand on other people to receive him, because Jesus said, Go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Jesus said, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. What do they believe? The Bible says if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Okay, in other words, why did God raise Jesus from the dead? One of the reasons that God rose Jesus from the dead, raised him from the dead, beloved, is to confirm that Jesus is who he said he is. He is the only substitute for sin that God has made. The Bible says there is no name under heaven but the name of Jesus by which men can be saved.
So I want to ask you a question. Have you really been walking in who Jesus said he is, the only name under heaven, the only person that can actually save man, the only one that has the authority and the ability to forgive men's sins? So next time you're in a conversation with people that doesn't believe in Jesus, don't just wash your hands and say, well you know, good for you. If that's what works for you, if that's what makes you happy, I'm not gonna judge you. No, if you really believe that Jesus is who he said he is, you've got to preach the Gospel. Go into all the world, Jesus said, preach the Gospel to all the creation. And he that believes will be saved. Believes what? That he's the Son of God, that he died for our sins, and that there's no other name under heaven, as the Scripture says, by which men can be saved.
Let's continue on in the text. So Jesus says, Who do they say that I am. And listen what happens. Peter confess: Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered, You are the Christ, the Anointed One; in Hebrew, the Messiah or the Mashiach, the Son of the living God. Christ means Anointed One. And the New Testament was written in Greek because it was the most well-known language of the ancient world. And Father God wanted the message of his Son to spread throughout all creation. But the Hebrew people knew him as the Messiah. It's the same thing; the Mashiach, the Anointed One. So once again, Simon Peter had said, You are the Christ, or the Mashiach, or the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Now listen to what Yeshua says here, verse number 17: And Jesus said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, get this now, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heave. I also say to you that you are Peter, get this now, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. This is one of the most famous, or the most well-known, or foundational verses, get this now, in the New Testament. The difference between the Catholic church and the Protestant church largely hinges on the interpretation of this verse right here. Once again, Yeshua Jesus asked Peter, Who do you say that I am? Peter said, You're the Christ. You're the Anointed One. You're the Son of the living God. Jesus said to him, Blessed art thou, Simon, son of John, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, get this now, but my Father who is in heaven. And then he said, And upon this rock I will build my church. You're Peter, and upon this rock, Peter, I'm gonna build my church.
Now let me tell you how this verse is interpreted. The Catholic church interprets this verse as understanding that Jesus was saying to Peter, Peter, upon you I'm gonna build my church, and that at that time, the Catholic church believes, God made Peter the first pope, and that the church is built, they believe, on the rock of the papacy. In other words, they believe that, that, that the anointing of the pope began with Peter, and then was transferred to each succeeding pope. And upon the papacy the church is built. That's the traditional Catholic understanding. Now the traditional Protestant understanding, so now we're looking at the difference between the way Catholics understand this verse. They understand it that Jesus was referring to the rock as the rock of the papacy, the rock of the pope. The Protestant church, which separated from the Catholic church when Martin Luther was used of the Lord to bring forth what we call the Reformation, the Protestant church believes that the rock that Jesus was speaking of here, get this now, was Peter's confession of faith.
Remember, Jesus said to Peter, who do you say that I am? And Peter said, You're the Christ, the Son of the living God. So the Protestant church believes that the rock that Jesus was referring to here that he builds his church on is the rock, get this now, of Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ. Let me read the verse again, verse 17, once again: Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not, get the word now, did not reveal this to you, hear that word reveal, but My Father who is in heaven. And Jesus continued in verse 18: I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
So again the Protestant church believes that the rock that Yeshua was referring to here was the rock of Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ. I want to submit to you another possibility, which I personally gravitate towards. I believe that what Jesus was actually saying here included this truth, that it's the rock of revelation that Jesus builds the church on. Remember when Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, here's what Jesus said: Blessed art thou, Simon, son of John, for flesh and blood has not, hear me now, has not revealed this to you. Jesus used the specific word revealed; flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And upon this rock, Jesus said, I will build my church. I believe the rock that Jesus was referring to, get this now, in addition to Peter's confession, was the rock, get it now, of revelation. Jesus builds his church on the rock of revelation. Jesus says, Everyone that hears and learns from the Father, comes to Me. Jesus said, No one comes to Me unless My Father draws him.
And so what happens is the Father chooses whom he's gonna reveal himself to. Jesus said in another portion of Scripture, he said, Father, Jesus said, I thank You that You did not reveal this to the wise and the prudent, but that You revealed revelation, truth who I am to the babes. So Jesus is building his church on the revelation that the Father gives to his elect. And so again, we have three different categories of this incredibly foundational verse, Matthew, 16, verse 17: Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, buy My Father who is in heaven. We have number 1, the traditional understanding from the Catholic church that Jesus was referring to the rock of the papacy; that when Peter stepped forward, Jesus said, Peter, I'm gonna build my church on you. And Peter became "the first pope"; traditional Catholic understanding.
Traditional Protestant understanding, what's a Protestant? A Protestant are all the main line denominations and all the independent denominations, you know, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Charismatics, Evangelicals, etc., etc. These are all part of the Protestant church. Protestants have typically believed that what's going on here is that Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ is the rock that Jesus said he was building the church on. I am submitting to you today, beloved ones, that additionally the rock that Jesus was referring to that he built his church on, is the rock of the revelation of the Father; that no one comes to him unless the Father reveals by his Spirit to that individual who Jesus is.
In other words, people can't know who Jesus is in the natural 'cause remember when Peter said, you're the Messiah, you're the Christ, Jesus said to him, you're blessed, Peter, because flesh and blood didn't reveal this to you. You didn't discern who I am by your own intellect. You didn't discern who I am just from teaching. It wasn't through flesh and blood. It wasn't from the natural that you were able to perceive who I am, Peter. You're blessed because you understand who I am because the Father has revealed it to you. You need to know, dear sister and dear brother right now, that if you love Jesus it's because the Father loves you. He chose you, and he revealed Jesus to you.
You see, Jesus said in John, chapter 6, to those that didn't understand who he was; they said, who is this guy? Who does this Jesus think he is? We know his mom and dad. He is the carpenter's son. How does he say now, in John, 6, that he came down from heaven, that he's the bread of life? Jesus said to them, Don't grumble amongst yourself. No one can come to me unless it's been granted by the Father. All the Father gives me, Jesus said, shall come to me. And he that comes to me, Jesus said, I will in no wise cast out. At the end of John, chapter 6, there were just a few people left that were standing with Jesus. All the others thought he was crazy. All the others thought he was mashugana.
He said, Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in yourself. And they said, Who can listen to this. And they left and walked away. A few remained, and Jesus looked at his few disciples that remained and he said, Do you want to leave also? And they said, You have the words of life. We're not going anywhere. Jesus looked at them and said, This is why I said to you that no one can come to me unless it's been granted by the Father. You see, beloved one, you love Jesus because he chose you. The Bible says in Ephesians, chapter 1: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who chose us in him before the foundation of the world and predestined us to himself for adoption as sons.
In Acts, chapter 13, verse 48, Paul was preaching to a city. And the Scripture concludes there in Acts, 13:48, that as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. I want you to know, anybody that will come to Jesus, Jesus saves and receives. But the people that want to come, the people that come, it's because they were blessed just like Simon Peter. Listen once again. Jesus said to Simon Peter, But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said to him, get this now, Blessed are you. You're blessed, Simon, flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
You see, Simon Peter was blessed, beloved, with revelation. And if you love Jesus today and know Jesus today, it's because you're blessed, beloved one, just like Simon Peter is. God chose you. And if you know that he chose you, you'll know who you are. You were made for him. You were made to love him and know him. You were made, beloved, to be separate in this world. You were made to lead a separate and a holy life in this world because you've been chosen of the Father to live unto him. I just want to speak a blessing. I want to bless you now.
Father, I speak a blessing right now over every precious son and daughter of yours under the sound of my voice. Father, I pray that you would cause them to know how special they are to you; that they're chosen; Father, that just like Simon Peter that had special revelation, that he had revelation from you, and because he did Jesus called him blessed, every son and daughter that's watching right now, Father, is blessed by you because you chose to reveal Jesus to them.