Morning Thoughts on  Matthew 16:13-14


Elder Phillip N. Conley

Matthew 16:13-14, "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."


This morning, it continues to frustrate me when I hear the statement, "Jesus was just a good man." Then, when I consider the time period that Jesus walked this earth, it is evident that they said the same thing then as they do now. Notice the line-up of candidates that "some say" put forth. In each and every case, they were just "good men." One cannot read the Scriptures and doubt the piety of John the Baptist, Elias (Elijah), Jeremias (Jeremiah), or the prophets that lived and prophesied in the Old Testament. Their goodness (which came from on High) is evidenced in their writings, teachings, mannerisms, and conversation. However, none of them was the Lord from heaven. They were all natural men that would have had no goodness to claim or evidence to show had not the grace of this One touched them. So, as flattering as it would be for someone to compare me with one of those men, it is nothing short of blasphemy to call Jesus Christ one of those men.


However, something else about that statement, "Jesus was just a good man" is even more troubling. This is the difference between what people say today as opposed to Matthew 16. In that day, they said that "thou art" one of these other men. Notice the tense of the phrase. They are speaking in the present tense as Christ was physically there on earth for them to know that He was alive. Therefore, as blasphemous as it was then to call Him just a good man, it is even more blasphemous now as their comment speaks of Him in the past tense. Jesus was a perfect man then, and He is still a perfect man now. The difference between then and now in His humanity is that now it is glorified. He is no less the GodMan today than He was then. Therefore, when someone says that He "was," it implies there is something about Him lacking today.

While some might say this is ax grinding, all the tactics leveled against our Saviour today boil down to a basic principle that they will deny His Deity and eternal Sonship and thereby deny His bodily resurrection. That is the main thrust of their attack. Therefore, by saying that He "was," they are implying that His body did not come out. When we pass from this life, there is a sense in which people can say we "were." While our spirit and soul are at home in glory, our body is still literally in the ground.


Even though our eternal Father sees us already glorified in His Son's image, our flesh still awaits that glorious day when time shall be no more, and it is changed. Therefore, after this life is over, we "were" to those that remain. However, to those at home with the Lord and those that are alive on the earth today, Jesus Christ "IS" to each and every one of His people. He is complete in body, soul, and spirit with no part lacking in the least. Therefore, when the question is asked today, it should still be stated, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"


He still is, and the great I AM will never pass away. Therefore, let us boldly defend the foundational tenet that the man Christ Jesus is verily the Lord of Glory who will one day part the skies to take us home with Him.