A group of Jewish men gathered together in a northern Israeli town called Caesarea Philippi. The leader of the group, a carpenter's son from Nazareth, asked the others what men were saying about him. Apparently his identity was the subject of much wild speculation. Jewish history had seen its share of men who spoke God's words and demonstrated God's power. Though in both word and deed this simple carpenter's son eclipsed them all, some still wondered if he might not be a re-embodiment of one of the great prophets.
As it turned out, their thoughts and imaginations proved vastly inadequate in their attempt to discover his true identity. Then this man made the question more personal asking, "But who do you say that I am?" One of his closest friends, a rough-cut Galilean fisherman named Shimon answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." He was speaking to Yeshua the Messiah, a name translated from Hebrew into Greek, then from Greek into English, as Jesus Christ. No matter who you are, no matter what your nationality, culture, or religion, the question that this Jewish carpenter's son from Nazareth asked his followers that day approximately two-thousand years ago, is the most important question that you will ever be asked. So who do you say that Yeshua of Nazareth is?
The true answer to this question has been revealed to people in countless ways throughout the ages from teaching in synagogues, to preaching in churches, to visions in prisons, to angelic visitations. The means of the discovery of this truth are as diverse and varied as those to whom it has been revealed. Yet there remains one ultimate authoritative source for the true answer to this question and that is the Bible, comprised of both Old and New Testaments, the New Testament being simply a continuation of the Old, fulfilling rather than contradicting it. Nevertheless, Shimon had no New Testament to which he could refer that day in Caesarea Philippi in order to answer Yeshua's question correctly. Nor will we utilize this source of truth to which Shimon would later contribute. Instead we will use the scriptures that were available at the time of Yeshua's life on earth, in which he was well learned, and throughout which his destiny was foretold and His true identity revealed. Yeshua the Messiah is unlike any other man who ever lived or ever will live. One phenomenal reality that distinguishes Yeshua from every other man in the history of the world is that the explicit details of His birth, life, death, and resurrection were documented in the Old Testament and publically circulated centuries and in some instances even millennia before he was even born. This fact not only distinguishes Yeshua from every other man, but it likewise distinguishes the Bible from every other book.
There are approximately 333 prophesies in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah. Based upon the mathematical theory of probabilities the possibility that one man could fulfill all of them exceeds the power of numbers to express, yet Yeshua of Nazareth did so:
These are just a few of the messianic prophesies of the Old Testament that Yeshua of Nazareth fulfilled. Let's return to the conversation between Yeshua of Nazareth and his followers in Caesarea Philippi so long ago. After Shimon had answered Yeshua's question correctly, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God", Yeshua told him that he was blessed because this truth had been revealed to him by God. That is the only way that any of us know who Yeshua of Nazareth truly is. This truth is not a goal to be achieved or a prize to be won through intellectual pursuit or the wisdom of man. It is a gift given by God to the poor, to the weak, to the foolish, to the humble, and to the broken. In other words, both this truth and Yeshua, himself, are gifts of God's love to those who know that they are lost without Him.
If you desire to know, but do not yet know who Yeshua of Nazareth is, then humbly and sincerely ask God to show you. When He does, open your heart to Yeshua as your Savior and as your Lord. Follow him and rejoice for you have now received everlasting life.