Chapter 31 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16.15).
The author offers some great thoughts on leadership from this question and last week’s, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” He says, there are basically two kinds of leaders: those who lead by public opinion and those who lead by their personal convictions.
As he points out, those who lead by public opinion wait to see which way the wind blows. In politics they may ask themselves: What do the polls say? What is popular? What will get me re-elected?
This kind of leadership is not limited to politics. Many parents tend to lead by consensus. It is the reason there are so many “child-centered homes.” Not a good thing! Our homes are to have Christ at the center, not our children, not even ourselves. Lou Priolo, in his book The Heart of Anger, says this is, actually, one of the ways we provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6.4).
Churches, too, are often lead by consensus.
Jesus confronted His Disciples with the same issue. “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” What do the polls say? What do people think of me? What is the consensus?
Then He turned their attention the most important question, “Who do you say that I am?” What do you believe about me? Before they could lead others well, they needed to know what they believed.
The same is true in our lives. We won’t be able to train up our children in the way they should go if we don’t first know what we believe and why we believe it.
If our nation is to ever be strong again, we need politicians who are principle oriented and will lead based on what God says is right, whether or not it benefits them personally.
The Church needs pastors and elders who will search the Scriptures and lead God’s people into His truth and who stand up for that truth, whether or not the world agrees.
Families need husbands and mothers and fathers who will lead based on God’s Word, whether or not it makes everyone happy at the moment.
But it doesn’t stop there. We are all leading others by what we say and what we do, though we live in a world that is much more concerned about what people think than what God thinks.
Now Jesus’ question was personal and direct: “Who do you say that I am?” In the language of the New Testament, the “you” is emphatic: its placement at the front of the sentence gives it significance and weight. Had we been there listening to our Lord that evening, Jesus’ question would have sounded more like this: “What about you, you and you only, you and no one else, you and you alone— who do you say that I am?” How an individual answers this question has eternal implications, and this is the question each person who walks on this planet must ultimately answer. Is Jesus who He said He was when He declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14: 6)? He is still asking, “Who do you say that I am?
In our pluralistic culture, to say that Christ is the one and only way to heaven is akin to waving a red cape in front of a raging bull. People today are far more interested in what men say than in what God says, and we set ourselves up as a target for attack when we state the truth that Jesus is indeed the one and only way to heaven.
He goes on:
When we, based on our personal convictions, insist that Christ is the only way to eternal life, we are accused of being narrow-minded … But all truth is narrow. Mathematical truth is narrow: two plus two equals four, not three, not five. That is narrow. Scientific truth is narrow: water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, not 35 or 36 degrees. Geographical truth is narrow: on the northern border of Texas is the Red River, not the Sabine River. Historical truth is narrow: John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in the Ford Theatre in Washington. Booth didn’t stab Lincoln in the back in the Bowery in lower Manhattan. So why should we be surprised that theological truth is narrow? Jesus Himself invited potential followers to “enter by the narrow gate” (Matthew 7: 13).
Look again at Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” Notice that little word “say.” What will you say about Jesus to a lost and dying world. What will the example ofyour lives and mine be? Will we stand up and be counted and do we have the courage to lead by our convictions when it counts?
Next week’s question: “Who is this?” (Matthew 21.10).
Last week’s question: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16.13). Read it here.
I have been pulling a few thoughts out of each chapter, but I cannot cover all the nuggets Hawkins shares in this little gem of a book. I hope these excerpts whet your appetite to purchase the book for yourself. Just click on one of the links below.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or HERE for Kindle.
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