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Reform Magazine | October 16, 2021

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Chapter & verse: Matthew 16:13-20

Chapter & verse: Matthew 16:13-20

Emmanuel Frimpong hears Jesus’s call

Who is Jesus Christ? For some people, Jesus Christ was just a human being, the son of a carpenter and a woman who was not a virgin. For such people, it is unthinkable for Jesus Christ to be conceived by the Holy Spirit and there is no need to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus Christ is seen as a teacher, a healer, and a miracle worker. The crowd was astonished because he did not teach as one of the Scribes but as one with authority. He told a paralysed man that his sins had been forgiven and that he should take his bed and go home. When he commanded a dumb man to speak, the crowd commented: ‘Never was anything like this seen in Israel’. But some people were only interested in Jesus’ miracles and this did not generate faith in them, or lead them to follow his teachings.

Contrastingly, Jesus in a private, peaceful, and meditative setting, posed this question to his disciples: ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ The disciples responded: ‘People say you are John the Baptist, others say Elijah and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ The people thought of Jesus as one of the prophets who appeared in connection with the coming of the end times, forerunners who had come to build expectation for, and prepare hearts to receive, the Messiah. These people saw Jesus merely as a forerunner to the Messiah, and were thereby speaking out of ignorance, disobedience or deception.

‘But what about you?’ Jesus asked his disciples. Who do you say I am?’ The disciples had been with Jesus; they had experienced his teachings, miracles, the power he possessed, and he had revealed hidden truths about the kingdom to them. He was expecting them to know who he was, but instead they reiterated what other people thought of Jesus, as one of the forerunners of the Messiah…

Emmanuel Frimpong is a retired Ghanaian Presbyterian Minister who worships at East Dulwich Grove United Reformed Church

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This is an extract from an article published in the October 2021 edition of Reform

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