“’But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.’” (Luke 9:20)
Who do you say I am? In Luke 9:20, Jesus was speaking to His disciples and asks them who the crowds were claiming Him to be after witnessing or hearing about His ministry for the past few years. After hearing the disciples’ responses, He directs the question to them and asks who they believe He is after walking with Him, hearing His teachings and sharing life with Him. Peter steps up and says, “God’s Messiah.”
Now from what we know about Peter, his response doesn’t really come as a surprise. He is bold, rash and says it like it is, which got him into trouble at times, but not this time. When Peter says “Messiah” in this verse, he is declaring that Jesus is so much more than just a good teacher. Peter will eventually lose his very life for his belief that Jesus is in fact the Messiah and Lord.
“Messiah” is a Hebrew word that means “anointed one,” which is the equivalent of the Greek word “Christ.” The coming of a Messiah was not a surprise to the nation of Israel; in fact, the Jewish people were waiting in great anticipation for their promised king who was guaranteed from the line of David.
The Old Testament scriptures point towards this coming Messiah and are filled with over 300 prophecies about Him, which Jesus ultimately fulfills through His life, death and resurrection. These writings were completed 450 years before Christ’s birth. These prophecies include being born in Bethlehem from a virgin, being tempted but being without sin, being rejected by His own people, being crucified, sitting at the right hand of God and being from the line of David.
This is so important! Who Jesus is changes everything! When Matthew started his gospel account of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, he starts with the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah tracing it from Abraham to David and from David to Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ earthly parents. This genealogy is actually a continuation of sorts of the last book in the Hebrew order of scripture, Chronicles, which begins with the historical records of Noah to Abraham and Abraham to David. In Chronicles 17, David is promised an heir who God will set over His house and kingdom and whose throne will be established forever. This is Christ.
So why all the prophecies, the writings, the years and generations of accounts and the promises? It was so that on page one of the New Testament, we wouldn’t miss it. Before we start reading how the birth of Jesus came about, we need to know who He is and why He came, because there will be a day when we all will have to answer Jesus’ question: “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”
This Christmas season, as you join with friends and family to read the Christmas story in Matthew, don’t forget the pages of writings and histories in the Old Testament that led up to this undeniably important birth.
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about.” (Matthew 1:18)
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.