Conclusions Concerning Christ

Title: Conclusions Concerning Christ

Bible Book: Matthew 16 : 15-16

Author: Donnie L. Martin

Subject: Christ; Jesus



Everyone who came through these doors today came having drawn certain conclusions about one thing or another. When we speak of coming to a conclusion about something, we mean that we have made a deduction concerning the particular facts given us; we have made an assumption based on what we know at that moment.

For instance, perhaps you arrived at certain conclusions concerning today’s weather, based on last night’s forecast. Maybe you simply looked at the sky as you were leaving the house, and concluded what you thought the weather would do today.

Maybe as you drove to church you thought about what sort of attendance to expect today. Moreover, based on previous Sundays, you might have concluded that the attendance would be about the same as usual.

The fact is we all come to numerous conclusions each day. However, all of life’s conclusions are relatively unimportant when compared to one’s conclusions concerning Christ. One’s deductions about Jesus ultimately affect how they respond to Him. It is that response to Christ, based on one’s conclusions, either true or false, that I wish to address today.

Jesus once asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ?” (Matt. 22:42). They said, “He’s the son of David.” Their response was that Christ was only a man. That conclusion became obvious in their dealings with Jesus thereafter. Nevertheless, the point of this message is not merely, what the Pharisees thought about Jesus. The point of this message comes down to one question: What conclusions have you come to personally, concerning Christ?

Theme: Is your conclusion concerning Christ like…


A. The Religious Inquisition.

1. This religious crowd distrusted Jesus, as seen by their request for a sign.

Matt. 16:1 “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.”

It is interesting that two traditional adversaries, the Sadducees and Pharisees, united in their hatred for Christ.

If a sign from heaven was all it took to convince these religious leaders of Christ’s identity, why did not His previous miracles convince them? To this point, Jesus had (1) Turned water into wine (John 2:1-11); (2) Healed a nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54); (3) Delivered a demoniac (Mark 1:23-28); (4) Healed a leper (Matt. 8:2-4); and (5) Miraculously fed the five thousand and four thousand (Matt. 14:15-21; Matt. 15:32-38).

The following story speaks to the reality of miracles:

Changed Whiskey into Furniture

An alcoholic, who became a believer, was asked how he could possibly believe all the nonsense in the Bible about miracles. “You don’t believe that Jesus changed the water into wine, do you?”

“I sure do, because in our house Jesus changed the whiskey into furniture.”[1]

In actuality, this hypocritical religious crowd already had their minds made up about Jesus. By asking for a sign from heaven, the Sadducees and Pharisees were saying, “Jesus, we don’t believe in You. We have concluded that You don’t merit our trust, because You don’t meet our criteria.”

Jesus never seeks to meet man’s criteria for a Savior. He is seeking those willing to meet His criteria for salvation—repentance.

2. Jesus reveals this group’s spiritual sinfulness and sightlessness.

Matt. 16:2 “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.”

In verses two and three, Jesus indicated that this group of spiritual intellectuals could interpret the signs in the sky better than they could interpret the fulfilled signs of Scripture. Jesus had fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah; yet, they remained ignorant as to His real identity.

When Jesus spoke of the “sign of the prophet Jonas,” He was referring to His eventual resurrection. Just as Jonah had spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish, so Christ would spend three days and nights in the heart of the earth, and immerge alive (Matt. 12:40).

It is amazing that these religious leaders knew so many significant facts, and yet, did not know He who was altogether significant.

B. The Redeemer’s Injunction.

Matt. 16:5 “And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

According to Luke 12:1, the “leaven of the Pharisees” refers to “hypocrisy.” The word “leaven” refers to “doctrine” or “teaching” (Matt. 16:12). One of the problems with the Pharisees was the fact that they said, but they did not do (Matt. 23:3-4). They were hypocrites. This reminds me of what happened during a session of the House of Representatives:

House of Representatives

Congressman addressing House of Representatives: “Never before have I heard such ill-informed, wimpy, back-stabbing drivel as that just uttered by my respected colleague, the distinguished gentleman from Ohio.”[2]

The Sadducees and Pharisees really did not want to know the truth about Jesus, because they had already made up their minds. Their only purpose in asking a sign of Jesus was to tempt Him (“tempting”—Matt. 16:1). In other words, they were putting Jesus to the test, that they might find fault.

The doctrine or “leaven of the…Sadducees” was one of unbelief. They did not believe in angels; they did not believe in the resurrection; they did not believe in the Holy Spirit (Acts 23:8).

Christ’s injunction to the disciples warns us that we must not get caught up in the doctrines and teachings of the world concerning Christ, for they are usually characterized by hypocrisy and unbelief.


A. Some Thought Jesus Was Merely A Fiery Preacher (John the Baptist).

Matt. 16:13 “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?

14a And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist…”

The disciples started out by saying, “Lord, the reports are pretty good. Some people are saying You are John the Baptist, raised to life.” John the Baptist had been a fiery preacher, and had been highly respected by the general population. John the Baptist had pointedly rebuked Herod for taking Philip’s wife (Matt. 14:3-4). Philip was actually Herod’s brother.

Herod himself believed Jesus to be John the Baptist raised from the dead (Mark 6:14).

Discourses like that found in Matthew 23 certainly indicate that Jesus’ preaching was sometimes fiery. Speaking of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus called them “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “fools,” “whited sepulchers,” “serpents” and “vipers.”

B. Some Thought Jesus Was Merely A Man Of Miraculous Power (Elijah).

Matt. 16:14b “…some, Elias…”

Elijah’s miracle-working power made him a prophet of note among the Jews. It was even predicted that John the Baptist would minister in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Luke 1:17).

Miraculous power certainly characterized Christ’s ministry. In fact, the Bible says, “…a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased” (John 6:2).

Believing in the miracles or works of Jesus is not synonymous with trusting Christ as Savior. Believing good things about Christ does not mean that one has necessarily trusted Christ. Many in Christ’s day, though enthralled by His miracles, would not trust Him as Savior.

John 12:37 “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:”

C. Some Thought Jesus Was Merely A Man Of Kindly Passion (Jeremiah).

Matt. 16:14c “…and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

Many people thought Jesus must be Jeremiah, restored to life, since He was so loving and willing to help those in need. Jeremiah 9:1 informs us that the prophet Jeremiah experienced brokenness over his people’s sin:

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”

Just like Jeremiah, the heart of Jesus often broke over the spiritual decay of His people. The Bible says, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,” (Luke 19:41).

Though many of the traits the people noticed about Jesus were certainly true of Him, their conclusions, as to Who He was, were wrong. They were as wrong as this guy was.

Stolen Billfold

John was driving home late one night when he picked up a hitchhiker. As they rode along, he began to be suspicious of his passenger.

John checked to see if his wallet was safe in the pocket of his coat that was on the seat between them, but it wasn’t there! So he slammed on the brakes, ordered the hitchhiker out, and said, “Hand over the wallet immediately!” The frightened hitchhiker handed over a billfold, and John drove off.

When he arrived home, he started to tell his wife about the experience, but she interrupted him, saying, “Before I forget, John, do you know that you left your wallet at home this morning?”[3]

“We can never make a true decision about Jesus Christ by taking a poll of the world.”[4] Many folks have no problem seeing Jesus as a kind, loving, caring and compassionate person to help in a crisis. However, they never seem to come to grips with the fact that this same Jesus must one day judge them, except they repent and trust Him as Savior.


A. Peter’s Heavenly Insight.

Matt. 16:15 “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

In this statement, Peter acknowledged the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not merely a great teacher; He was not merely a miracle-worker; He was not merely a fiery preacher, or a man of kindness. He was “God on foot,” as Mark Lowery says. Jesus was and is “the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).

Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, Peter had received the ability to understand the real nature of Christ. Let me explain:

Sewing Machine

A major problem in the development of the first sewing machine was the location of the eye of the needle. Inventor Elias Howe was rapidly running out of money and ideas when one night he had a peculiar dream. He was being led to his execution for failing to design a sewing machine for the king of a strange country. He was surrounded by guards, all of whom carried spears that were pierced near the head.

Realizing instantly that this was the solution to his problem, Howe woke up and rushed straight to his workshop. By nine o’clock that morning the design of the first sewing machine was well on the way to completion.[5]

B. Peter’s Heavenly Instructor.

Matt. 16:17 “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Dear friends, in one sense, it matters little what the general public thinks about Jesus Christ. It matters a great deal however, what you personally believe about Christ.

The high priest of Israel once asked concerning Christ, “What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death” (Matt. 26:66). In essence, their conclusion about Jesus was, “He’s insignificant. Let’s kill Him.”

Believing that Jesus was merely a great preacher, miracle-worker, or a compassionate lover of mankind is not enough. You must come to know Him personally as the Son of God, who gave Himself on the cross, and shed His blood for your sins. He must become personal to you. WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?

[1] R. Stedman, Authentic Christianity, p. 36.

[2] E. E. Smith, in the “Wall Street Journal.”

[3] Our Daily Bread, October 2, 1992.

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, Meet Your King, (Chicago, Illinois: SP Publications, 1983), p. 110.

[5] Today in the Word, November 5, 1991.

Copyright © July 1991 by Rev. Donnie L. Martin. All rights reserved.


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