You can believe in Jesus as a great teacher without ever acknowledging him as the Messiah who came to save the world. To acknowledge him as Messiah would mean we would have to confess that we are sinners who need to be saved. Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?”
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”
Who you believe Jesus to be will determine your response to him. Jesus asked his followers who the people said he was. He truly cared because he came so that people would come to know him. He continues to care about this. Jesus cares about the spreading of his message. He cares about the gospel getting out to the whole world.
In Mark 8:27, he asks his followers who the people say he is. The crowd thought he was important. John the Baptist, Elijah, and one of the prophets were the answers. These are important people. They saw Jesus as important.
It’s kind of like this today. People generally think Jesus is important. He is a great teacher. He is a prophet. He comes from God. These are common answers we hear even today. And these answers stop short of Jesus’ goal. He did not come to earth to be known as an important man who held wisdom or knowledge. He came to be revealed as Messiah. Revealed by whom?
Revealed by the Father in heaven. That’s what we see in the parallel passage in Matthew 16. God reveals to people that Jesus is the Messiah. He revealed it to Peter and he can reveal it to you.
What’s the difference? Teacher or Messiah? What’s the difference?
Well… You can believe in Jesus as a great teacher without ever acknowledging him as the Messiah who came to save the world. To acknowledge him as Messiah would mean we would have to confess that we are sinners who need to be saved.
Ahh… Perhaps that’s the point. Some of us are concerned about admitting we need a savior. As long as we view Jesus as a teacher, we don’t have to accept him as Savior. Guess what? We are kidding ourselves. We need him.
We need Jesus as teacher and Lord and Savior and Messiah. We need all of Jesus. Today. Now. Every day…
So reconsider. Reconsider your views on Jesus today. Realize who he claimed to be. Realize who he came to be revealed as by the Father. Realize your need before God. Jesus the Christ awaits…