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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Son of the living God


Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Exhortations
Today in many churches of the East and West the Apostles Peter and Paul are commemorated. Both were martyred in Rome in the first century. 

They tirelessly worked for the spread of the gospel, not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations as well. They risked their lives in the process and gladly poured out their blood in loyalty to their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 As Paul so eloquently stated in his second epistle to Timothy, they courageously fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.

Who do you say I am?
How firm is your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? At an opportune time Jesus tested his disciples with a crucial question: Who do men say that I am and who do you say that I am?

 Jesus was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Through the gift of faith Peter recognized that Jesus was the "annointed one" (in Hebrew and Greek the word is translated as Messiah and Christ), and the only begotten Son of God sent by the Father in heaven to redeem a fallen human race.

 No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter; but only God. Jesus then confered on Peter authority to govern the church that Jesus would build, a church that no powers could overcome. Jesus played on Peter's name which is the same word for "rock" in both Aramaic and Greek.

To call someone a "rock" is one of the greatest of compliments. The ancient rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: "I have discovered a rock to found the world upon." Abraham put his trust in God and made God's word the foundation of his life and the bedrock of his faith.

Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was. He was the first apostle to proclaim that Jesus was truly the Anointed One (Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God.

The New Testament describes the church, the people of God, as a spiritual house and temple of the Holy Spirit with each member joined together as living stones. 

Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks- spiritual stones. The Lord Jesus tests each of us personally with the same question: Who do you say that I am?

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