Holy Spirit, I want to be open to your empowering presence. Make my heart your home, I pray.
Read MATTHEW 16:13-20
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
How do you think of Jesus and the mission of his church?
Did you notice the remarkable titles given to Jesus in these verses? Jesus is seen to be the Son of Man, the Messiah, and the Son of the living God. He is the one to whom is given the everlasting kingdom and power and glory.1 He is the anointed one, the one who would fulfill the hopes of the nation in ways they could not imagine. Some people expected a Messiah who would be at least one: prophet, priest, or king – but Jesus fulfilled all these roles. He put people in touch with God, he showed people what God is like and he exercised God’s rule over his people while also being the Servant of the Lord.
How did Peter recognize all this? Not through human insight. Only God in his grace can reveal God, and he had done so for Peter. It takes a revelation from above to see that this carpenter who was dismissed by his family as crazy and condemned as a criminal by his enemies was actually the divine Son of God! God’s grace alone is what shows people who Jesus is and what he has done. No one’s cleverness can deduce this. God alone gives this insight.
So, the mission of the church is established. Peter and the other apostles would be the first to go and preach the good news that God was establishing a new community of his people from all over the world: a faithful people who would be in continuity with the Old Testament covenant community, yet new in the sense that Jesus designated it ‘My community’ (see v 18). Even when death itself assaulted this community, it would not crush it. The church will endure until Christ’s return. No opposition, even persecution and martyrdom, will prevent the ultimate triumph of God’s purposes.
Lord, give me a fresh vision of the wonder of Jesus, his power and grace. Encourage me to embrace his indestructible purposes.
Lord, I bow before the mystery of Jesus, fully God and fully human. I don’t fully understand all this, but I am amazed at your sovereign ways, working for my redemption.
1 Dan 7:14
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