Day 16

Jesus Is the Messiah

from the reading plan

Matthew 15:1-39, Matthew 16:1-28, Isaiah 28:16, Romans 10:9-11

Crime was sky-high in Gotham. Thugs, villains, and ruffians ran amok, causing chaos. Anarchy reigned.

Then a shadowy figure emerged. Perched on skyline rooftops, he watched the madness unfold below—waiting, planning, brooding. Then he struck. One by one, Gotham’s scoundrels started falling like flies. Fear and confusion gripped the city’s underworld. Rumors began circulating among the criminal networks—wild tales of a winged creature who hunted his lawless prey at night.

Then one evening, some poor thief found himself face to face with Gotham’s Dark Knight. As he dangled over the precipice of a tall building, the panicked criminal pleaded for his life—and some identification.

“What are you?” he said, gasping.

“I’m Batman.”

In the DC Comics universe, Bruce Wayne’s fictional alter ego thrives on mystery. Very few people understand Batman’s true identity. The less people know about him, the better he works.

In first-century Palestine, Jesus was a mysterious figure, as well. But Christ was no fictional character! He is the living, breathing Son of God—eternal, incarnate and reigning on high. While Jesus did wait for His identity to be revealed, thousands of people flocked to Him, becoming eyewitnesses as He healed the sick, fed the thousands, and even raised the dead. Yet as we read in the Gospel of Matthew, very few people understood Jesus’s true identity. Various working theories included John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or other Old Testament prophets.

Then Jesus put the question directly to His disciples.

“But who do you say that I am?”

“You are the Messiah,” Peter declared, “the Son of the living God.”

Yes! Jesus is the Messiah! He is the chosen One—the Savior who God sent to redeem a broken world.

Today, many people are still confused by Jesus’s identity. Moralistic teacher? Short-lived prophet? Ancient pacifist? Heavenly chum whose warm-and-fuzzy message of love counterbalances God’s vengeful wrath? Christian myth? There are as many mistaken ideas about Jesus today as there were 2,000 years ago.

But Scripture leaves no doubt about Jesus’s true identity. He is the eternal Son of God, sent by the Father as a once-for-all sacrifice for our sins. Like Peter, we must confess Christ (Matthew 16:17) and allow Jesus’s messiahship to radically transform us from hardened rebels into faithful followers. As Paul says in Romans 10:9–10, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”

Following Jesus comes with a cost—sometimes quite steep (Matthew 16:24–25). But the payoff, both in this life and the one to come, is incomparable. Romans 10:11 assures us, “Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame.”

Lord Jesus, indeed You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God! Help us to follow You.

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