Matthew 16:13-16 Walking with Jesus

Author: Dr. George M. Flattery

Matthew 16:13-16 Walking with Jesus

foot prints on brown sands

Thoughts about Walking with Jesus: Matthew 16:13-16

When people think about visiting Israel, it is often mentioned that visitors can walk where Jesus walked. This is true, but it is more important for us to walk with Him as He would have us walk. If we are to walk confidently with Him, we must know who He is. Therefore, we will talk about who Jesus is as well as about walking with Him.

Whether you ever visit Israel or not, we need to know who He is. All of our plans, hopes, and dreams are affected by whom we think Jesus is. As believers in Christ, we have settled the question for ourselves. We have made Him central to our lives. When we settle the question, we begin an unending walk with Jesus.

During the ministry of Jesus, He asked the disciples whom others said He was. Several answers were given. Since then, many ideas have been advanced, but the correct answer is very clear. While asking His question, Jesus identified Himself as the “Son of Man.” Then, it was Peter who answered Jesus by declaring that He was the “Son of God.” In Matthew 16:13-16 we read:

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

As we think about this passage, we must keep in mind that Jesus Christ is both God and man. When Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20) in the womb of Mary, He became the God-man. From the moment of His conception, He was both God and man. He was both God and man when he ministered on earth, died on the cross, was buried, and rose again. He is still the God-man.

We must know who Jesus is and walk closely with Him. In my coming “thoughts” we will talk about Jesus as (1) the Son of History, (2) the Son of Man, (3) the Son of God, and (4) the Son of Eternity. As we do, we will think about “walking with Jesus.” This will give us great cause for exalting His name and praising Him.

More Thoughts about Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

For a few days, we are discussing who Jesus is and our walk with Him. A visit to Israel lies in the background of what we say. Today, our topic is Jesus: the Son of History.

Although “Son of History” is not a Biblical title, it expresses much Biblical truth. When Jesus was conceived, the God-man became a child of time, history, and historical existence. His entry into history was not an accident. It was central to the plan of God for us. It was in the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4) that Jesus entered time and history. A historical record could be written about His life and ministry.

Because Jesus was a historical figure, it is easy for us to identify with Him. As a man, Jesus was born, was nurtured, lived His life, and ministered to others on the earth. We are men, just as He was a man. We have human nature in common. We, too, were conceived, were born, and are living on earth.

Our identification with Jesus, however, goes further. We identify with Him because of what He, as the God-man, has done for us. We know that He transcends us and that He can meet our needs. Given this, we stand in awe of Him.

In summary, Jesus as the God-man is the Son of History. When we know who He is, we identify with Him and want to walk with Him. In my next “thoughts” we will explore further the matter of walking where Jesus walked and the impact that this can have on us.

More Thoughts About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

In my current posts, we are talking about who Jesus is and about walking with Him. My visit to Israel lies in the background of some of these thoughts.

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism appeals to Christians to come to Israel and “walk where Jesus walked.” People could see, hear, and touch Jesus. When Jesus was on earth, people actually could “walk where He walked!” This was possible, of course, because Jesus is the Son of History.

When you are in Israel, you will be in the vicinity of the places where Jesus walked. Most of the streets and sites are buried under the rubble and crumbled walls of the past, but just being in the “neighborhood” is awesome! And there are some places which the feet of Jesus could have touched.

You can see Bethlehem where Jesus was born, Nazareth where He grew up, and Capernaum where He lived during His Galilean ministry. You can sail on the Sea of Galilee. You can see the Mount of Temptation. You can drive to the top of the Mount of Transfiguration. And you can visit Samaria where He talked with the woman at the well.

In Jerusalem, you can stand where the Temple was. You can stand on top of the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, from whence He ascended into heaven and to which He will someday return.

Yes, in a general sense we can walk where Jesus walked! Why do we want to do this? We want to walk where He walked because we identify with Him! What is the impact of Jesus being the Son of History? In my next “thoughts” we will discuss the impact of our being able to walk where Jesus walked.

More Thoughts About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

With a visit to Israel in the background, we are discussing the fact that Jesus is a Son of History. By this, I mean that the divine-human Son of God lived and dwelt among men. He was a historical figure on this earth. Now, He is our divine-human Savior seated at the right hand of the Father.

I would say a word about the presence of Christ. You need not go to Israel to sense His presence. However, there is a special sense of His presence when you “walk where He walked.” This is due to our receptivity to His presence and to all the reminders of what Jesus has done for us. There is no magic in the places themselves, but if you define a sacrament as a visible sign of inward spiritual grace, the visit in this sense becomes sacramental.

How well I remember the first time that I visited the Garden Tomb. Whether Jesus was buried there is debated, but the tomb is at least a vivid reminder of His death, burial, and resurrection. Three of us were alone in the Garden. As I sat outside the tomb looking at the entry, I remember thinking, it is the empty tomb that makes the difference between Christianity and any other religion! Jesus was not there! He had risen from the grave and is alive now. Yet, He was there! The presence of the Lord was especially real to me on that occasion.

Whether you visit Israel or not, just the knowledge that Jesus was a figure in time and space strengthens our faith. His life and ministry are well attested in the records of history. Jesus is the Son of History. We can walk with the Son of History! Because we can, His presence is very real to us and our faith is strengthened. Let’s live with a sense of the awesome presence of the Lord guiding our lives!

More Thoughts About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:16-19

Some people who lead tours of Israel invite us to “walk where Jesus walked.” It’s a great experience to do this, but the greater experience is to walk with Him daily wherever you are. After visiting Israel on one occasion I gave some thought concerning who Jesus is and why we ought to walk with Him.

In my last “thoughts” I talked about Jesus being the Son of History. Today, we will begin our thoughts on Jesus as the Son of Man, a title that Jesus frequently used when speaking about Himself.

I believe that Jesus liked this title because it expressed His identification with mankind.

This title does not intend to say that Jesus was only human because He was God as well as man. Rather, this title refers to Jesus as the God-man who walked where walk, who dwelled among us, who suffered as we suffer, who was anointed to be the Savior of the world, and who is coming back again to live and dwell with us.

Jesus experienced the same kinds of things that we experience. He knew all about hunger and thirst, poverty and want, work and rest. Throughout His earthly experience, He identified very strongly with the poor, the homeless, and the helpless. For example, we read in Matt 8:19-20: “And a certain scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’”

Jesus knows when you are faced with economic loss, physical weakness, problems with children, family, and friends, and situations that seem insurmountable. He came to earth so that He might understand from His own experience what we face. He walked where we walk!

Because Jesus walked where we walked, we have a deep sense of gratitude. In my next “thoughts” we will discuss how this applies to our spiritual lives as well as the rest of our existence. Stay tuned and comment as you wish!

More Thoughts about Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

Jesus is the Son of History and the Son of Man. As Son of Man, He identifies with us and all of our tests and trials. He is man yet more than man. Jesus is our great High Priest! As a priest, He identifies with us in all our frail responses to the spiritual temptations and sufferings of life as well as all other tests. He ministers to us as one of us. The writer of Hebrew (4:14-16) declares:

“14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us, therefore, draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

One impact of Jesus walking with us is that our understanding of God is increased. God is not far away from us. Another impact is related to this greater understanding. Our relationship with Christ is strengthened. We talk with Him knowing that He understands and identifies with us in our struggles. We know Him as one of us, not just as someone who has never entered into our sorrows and woes.

Jesus is the Son of Man! He walked where we walk! We can walk with the Son of Man. He wants to walk with us! He continues to search us out and calls us to fellowship with Him. He wants our understanding and fellowship! He desires for us to come to Him boldly and interact with Him! He desires to talk with us day by day and to receive our worship and praise. He wants us to forsake all and follow Him.

More Thoughts about Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

With a visit to Israel in the background, we have talked about Jesus as the Son of History and the Son of Man. Today, our focus will be on Jesus the Son of God.

Jesus frequently referred to God as “My Father” (John 5:17; 6:40; 8:54; 10:18; and 15:15). In addition, He declared (John 10:30), “I and the Father are one” and (10:38) “the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” In John 10:36 he admitted that He had directly said, “I am the Son of God.” These passages demonstrate that Jesus thought of Himself as the “Son of God.”

The title “Son of God” identifies Jesus with God the Father and presents Him as God. The emphasis of the title is on the divine nature of Christ. Nevertheless, since the incarnation, the Son of God has been and continues to be the God-man. The God-man, with emphasis on His divine nature, acts powerfully on our behalf. We know also that He was empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Because Jesus is God, He walked where we cannot walk! Jesus had experienced heaven in all its glory. He left His home in glory to come to earth in the form of human flesh. While on earth, He stood alone in doing things that man cannot do. Now, in heaven, He continues to act powerfully and uniquely in the world. Because Jesus is God, we stand in awe of Him and praise His name.

In my next thoughts, we will consider Jesus walking on the road to Calvary. Although scholars differ as to part of the exact route, this road is known as the via Dolorosa (road of suffering). As we review the Scriptures, we will remember what the Son of God did for us.

More Thoughts About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

Today, we will focus on the via Dolorosa (road of suffering). This is the road that Jesus walked from the Lion’s Gate (St. Stephen’s Gate or Sheep Gate) to Golgotha. Scholars differ as to the exact route of the road and the location of Golgotha. All that has historical value, but our purpose is to call to mind how Jesus suffered and to encourage us to spiritually walk with Him today.

Let’s begin with Jesus at His second trial (Matthew 27:11-26, Mark 15:1-15, and John 18:28-40). Jesus was before Pilate, the governor. The crowd was shouting for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus. Pilate reluctantly released Jesus to be scourged.

Then the soldiers took Jesus “into” the Praetorium (Matthew 27:27-33, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:1ff) and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. They put a crown of thorns on His head and mocked Him and beat Him on the head. Then they took the robe off Him and put His garments on Him and led Him away to crucify Him.

Perhaps we can imagine the scene. As Jesus walked on the cobblestones of the Via Dolorosa, the crowd gazed at them. Some were just curious, others mocked in hatred, and perhaps a few were sympathetic. His back was bleeding and his brow was wet with perspiration. He walked step by ponderous step along the road. However, there was no terror in His eyes. Instead, His face glowed with a sense of purpose. His redemptive work was being accomplished.

Let’s walk with Jesus. Although physically we can visit the vicinity of where Jesus walked, we cannot walk where He walked in the sense of experiencing all that He experienced or accomplishing all that He accomplished. He was walking the road of redemption which He alone could walk. As believers who are in Christ, we can walk him in remembering what He did and doing His will.

In my next thoughts, we will talk about whom the crowd saw on the road of suffering, the recognition that we as believers ought to have, and what this means for walking with Jesus.

More Thoughts About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

Jesus walked via Dolorosa (road of suffering) from the Lion’s Gate to Golgotha. Although we are not there to observe the gathered crowd, we can engage our imagination to consider this question:

Whom did the crowd see?

The person they saw, according to their perception, was a man condemned to die by crucifixion. They saw a man who was being treated like a common criminal. He would die a shameful and torturous death. Nothing more than this.

The crowd did not recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Let’s think about the person whom He was. The person they saw was God-man expressing God’s love for the world. They saw Son’s complete obedience to the will of God. They saw the God-man looking at them with compassion and concern. Each step He took had meaning.

He takes a step.

They were seeing God, through Christ, enduring the shame of walking the despised road to the crucifixion site. Incredibly, God was willing to endure this for them! But they did not believe in Him.

He takes another step.

They were seeing the Son of Man with His bleeding brow and His back and head beaten and bruised. This Son of Man was giving His life for all men including the jeering crowd along the road. But they rejected Him.

And another step.

They were seeing God determined to provide the way of salvation for a lost world. This provision required nothing less than God Himself paying the penalty for our sins. But they wanted to save themselves.

Still another step.

They were seeing the God-Man identifying with mankind. This God-Man was paying the ultimate sacrifice for all others. All others will forever be in His debt. But they turned away from Him.

Yet another step.

They were seeing God giving hope to man. The hope God gives includes the radical transformation of human motivation, life, and concerns. Incredibly, they chose to live without this hope.

One more step.

They were seeing the Son of Man, the Son of God, being the mediator between justice and mercy. Only this God-Man was worthy to be the mediator. He alone is worthy to be praised. Although the crowd did not recognize the God-man for what He was, they were seeing the King of Kings and Lord of Glory in His greatest moments of triumph! All of this suffering was only a prelude to glorious resurrection and victory.

We’ve just been walking along with Jesus, the God-man and Savior of the world. The crowd which was with Him did not recognize Him, but we do. Jesus alone was worthy to be the sacrifice for our sins. He alone was without sins. He alone is the one with the authority to cast out demons and heal diseases. He alone could withstand the tempter on the Mount of Temptation. He alone is the Savior of men. He alone has the power to forgive sins. His blood alone atones for our wrongdoing. He alone rose from the dead to join with the Father at His right hand to rule over the kingdom of God. He alone will be coming back in power and in glory to rule over men.

We used our imagination to walk with Jesus, but His walk was real. The impact of what He did is incredible. In my next “thoughts” I will present some thoughts about this impact.

More Thoughts About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

As I have indicated in my previous “thoughts,” Jesus is the Son of History, the Son of Man, and the Son of God. Given all this, we know that Jesus is unique!

If Jesus were not unique, then our experience with Him would be no greater than with any other man. We might look up to Him for His accomplishments and respect Him for all that He was, but we would be left in our sins and without eternal hope. Because of His uniqueness, we want to walk closely with Him.

The impact of the uniqueness of Christ is powerful. We could mention many aspects of that impact. However, today, we will think especially of our reliance on Him and our desire to worship Him. We have plans for our job, our families, our recreation, and for our church. All of these things may be great, but we as Christians must always rely on Christ. We must submit to His will and determination that we will do what He helps us do. We are completely dependent upon Him!

Because Jesus is the God-man, our hearts beat with adoration and love. We reach out to Him with worship and exalt His name. He has redeemed us with His blood, and we worship Him with hearts of gratitude and minds filled with awe. We exalt Him.

Jesus is the Son of God! Jesus has walked where we cannot walk! We can walk with the Son of God! Because of this, we can rely on Him. He has the power and the ability to help us in every circumstance. We must not fail to worship Him. Let us lift His name in praise forever!

In my next “thoughts” we will add one more point about Jesus. Jesus is the Son of Eternity. Although this title is not mentioned in the Bible, His eternal existence and nature are. Tune in next time for a discussion of the eternal nature of Jesus.

More About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

In my previous “thoughts” we discussed the facts that Jesus is the Son of History, the Son of Man, and the Son of God. Today, we will talk about Jesus as the Son of Eternity.

Jesus is the Son of Eternity also. Like Son of History, the title Son of Eternity is not used in the Bible, but it expresses great Biblical meaning. By Son of Eternity, I mean that Jesus, as God, existed in eternity past. About the eternal past, the apostle John (1:1-2) declared: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). This past eternal existence extends into the future.

Other Scriptures also declare that God is eternal. According to Deuteronomy 33:27, God is “the eternal God.” Similarly, the Holy Spirit is called (Hebrews. 9:14) “the eternal Spirit.” Jesus, the Third Person of the Trinity is also eternal. Thus, the Son of God, who is the God-man, will live on throughout eternity.

The eternal Christ is in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father. He cares for us and guides our lives. With repentance, gratitude, and faith, we respond to Him and identify with Him. We walk with Him as His servants, and He walks with us as our Redeemer and Lord.

In my next “thoughts,” I will say more about this walk and its impact on our lives. Meanwhile, your comments, added insights, and stories are welcome. Thanks to all who comment from time to time.

More About Walking with Jesus Matthew 16:13-16

We are discussing the fact that Jesus is the Son of Eternity. We will walk with Jesus forever. During our walk with Him, we may visit Israel. If so, we will find that inspiring and faith-building. Even if we do not have the privilege of seeing Israel, we have the great joy of walking spiritually with Jesus.

After His resurrection, and before His public ascension, Jesus walked with the disciples (Luke 24:15, 32) on the road to Emmaus. As they walked, Christ explained the Scriptures to them and their hearts burned within them. As we walk with Jesus, we also experience the impact of His presence.

Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Even now, He is the Lord of the Kingdom of God. In the future, that Kingdom will be fully brought to earth and He will rule and reign throughout eternity. We will rule and reign with Him. All this means that we will be walking forever with Jesus!

However, the impact of His eternal nature is not all future. The power of the King of Kings is even now available to us. Although His kingdom will not be fully established until He returns, His Kingdom power is evident among us. Through the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God is present even now. Let us never overlook this power or minimize it. With His power, we can achieve many of His goals on earth.

While we await the return of Christ, we must walk faithfully with Him. Jesus wants us to walk steadfastly, faithfully, and closely with Him now. As Paul wrote: “it is required of stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Without a doubt, this is the most important characteristic for us to desire in the days to come.

Jesus is the Son of Eternity! Because He is, we will walk with Him throughout eternity. Therefore, let us act on behalf of the Kingdom of God through the power of the Spirit now and be found faithful to His cause. His name will be glorified!

Summary of Walking With Jesus: Matthew 16:13-19. It was after a visit to Israel that I wrote many of the thoughts that we have been discussing for several days. Our subject has been “walking with Jesus.” To walk with Him, we have to know who He is. Ultimately, it is the Spirit of God who reveals the identity of Jesus to us.

When you visit Israel, you know that you are in the vicinity of where Jesus walked. Some of the sites are buried beneath layers of earth, but others exist where they have always been. A visit to Israel gives you a better understanding of the life and times of Jesus. It will strengthen your faith.

Our walk with Jesus, however, is not dependent on any earthly site. We can walk with Him wherever we are. As our Savior and leader, He walks with us. According to Matthew, Jesus said: “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). By His own choice and purpose, Jesus is ever-present with us.

About the question of who Jesus is, we have discussed four titles. He is the Son of History, the Son of Man, the Son of God, and the Son of eternity. The first and fourth titles are not explicitly stated as such in the Bible, but they are in harmony with Biblical truth. As Son of History, Jesus into our lives of humankind by becoming human as well as divine. He lived as a historical figure. As Son of Eternity, Jesus has existed always. He is the eternal Person whose life extends without end into the future. He is the eternal creator and sustainer of life.

The second and third titles are explicitly stated in the Bible. The title Son of Man can refer to both His human and divine natures, but it emphasizes His humanity. The title Son of God, on the other hand, also can refer to both His divine and human natures, but the emphasis is on the divine.

If you have the opportunity to visit Israel, it will strengthen your faith. You will enjoy the vivid historical reminders and ponder the future. Whether or not you visit Israel, you have the great privilege of walking with Jesus and having Him walk with you! Let us grasp this privilege today and rejoice in it.

George M. Flattery, Ed.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.

Excerpts transferred from a series originally posted on Dr. George's Facebook.

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