Who’s Your Daddy and What Do You Do? Southerners Meet Jesus – Class 3 Summary

Last Sunday, we finally got into the meat of our study on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Who was Jesus’ daddy? Well, according to Matthew 13:55, Luke 3:23, and John 1:45, Jesus’ contemporaries thought (for good reason) that his father was Joseph the carpenter. But readers of the gospel know that Joseph didn’t contribute any genetic material to Jesus – Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceived miraculously (the virgin birth is more accurately termed the virgin conception – the birth was like any other birth, the conception was in a class of its own). Joseph was certainly Jesus’ legal father (Luke’s genealogy most likely traces this legal paternity), but Jesus Himself knew that He had another father, a heavenly one. As we look at passages like Mark 1:11, Luke 2:41ff., Matthew 16:17, and Mark 8:38, we see that Jesus knew that He was the Son of God the Father. Jesus was unlike any other man that has ever lived – He was a human, but He was more than a human. As we’ll see in more detail in further classes, He was fully God.

What did Jesus do? To answer this question, you must first understand what the title “Christ” means – Christos is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, and both words come from verbs meaning “to anoint.” In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed to fulfill a particular task. Jesus was the Anointed One par excellence. He was sent on a mission, to be the prophet, the priest and the king.

In Mark 8:27-38, we see a dual emphasis on Christ’s person and work. This passage is not only the literary center, it is the theological center and heart of the gospels. It’s what they’re all about – who do you say that Jesus is? What has He come to do? In these verses we see three things: confession, confusion, and commitment. Jesus takes His disciples into the northern hinterlands of Israel, to a city named Caesarea Philippi. This city had formerly been named Paneas, b/c of a temple to the honor of the Greek god Pan (god of nature). Herod’s son Philip later renamed it in honor of Caesar Augustus. And here, in a region devoted to the worship of Pan and the declaration that Caesar is Lord, the disciples recognize Jesus’ lordship as the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, God’s Son. He was a human Christ, the son of David; and He was the son of the Living God (Matt. 16). The question Jesus asks is the most important question we can ever answer – who is He?

I find two things fascinating about this interchange between Jesus and His disciples. First, unless Jesus is who Peter confesses Him to be, His question is either the question of a lunatic or the question of the most arrogant man who ever lived. After teaching them for a long time, what He really wants to know is what they think about Him. How remarkably narcissistic – unless Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, in which case knowing He is who He says He is is absolutely vital. Second, it is striking to me that the disciples knew what the crowds were saying about Jesus. Do we? Do we know what people are thinking about Jesus? This is a key starting point of evangelism – “So who do you think Jesus was?” As we ascertain where people are in their knowledge of and relationship with Jesus, we are able to bring the gospel to them exactly where they need it.

Jesus came into this world to fulfill the duties of a prophet, a priest, and a king. The crowds weren’t wrong – He was a prophet, but He was so much more than a prophet. He was the Anointed King, come to rule over the world. But He wasn’t the type of king the Jews (and Romans) thought Him to be – He was a suffering king. First came the cross, the priestly work, then came the crown, when He would be raised from the dead and exalted on high. As we’ll see, He exercises His three offices in His state of humiliation and exaltation.

Mark 8:27-38 shows us the response that Jesus’ person and work should elicit: commitment. Knowing who He is, confessing Him as Lord and Savior, submitting to Him (as opposed to saying like Peter, “No, Lord!”), taking up our cross daily, denying ourselves, and following Him.

 

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