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Today we read about Peter’s confession of Christ in Matthew chapter 16. In verse 15 we hear Jesus ask: ““But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” And then in verse 16 Peter replies – “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” I believe this is a question that is asked of each of us today as well. Who do you say that Jesus is? Is your answer the same answer as Peter’s? If not, will you pray to God about who Jesus truly is? Below is a fresco from 1481 by Pietro Perugino of "Christ Giving the Keys to Peter" from verse 19:
In verse 18 we read - "Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." Praise God for Jesus instituting the body of Christ, Jesus’ church! And all of the powers of hell will not conquer the body of Christ! Do you praise Jesus regularly for the church you attend? Do you pray for the ministry of your church regularly? Do you pray often for your pastors / ministers / priests? Do you pray for others that attend your church? Do you pray for those that will soon be coming to attend your church? I have to say - I absolutely love my church. I honestly cannot imagine what my life would be like without the church. I met first met Jesus thanks to the church over 20 years ago. And Jesus changed my life forever. Thank God for the church! I realize that some of you may feel that some churches have some issues and so you don’t go to church at all at this time. However, I honestly do believe that we are called to be in community with others in a church – be it a big church, small church, house church, etc. - and that you really can find a great church if you search prayerfully. Trust me, they are out there! If you are not currently attending church - maybe because of bad experiences you had at another church in the past, will you pray about this with Jesus? Will you attend a different church again soon? I honestly believe it will bless you immensely to attend church again on a regular basis. Also, I am reminded of a classic line from Billy Graham – "If you ever find the perfect church, please do not join it. You’ll mess it up!" :) Indeed, there are no perfect people out there, and hence no perfect churches. But let us be the church anyway! The church may be a majestic mess, but it is Majestic indeed! And I do honestly believe that the body of Christ is the "hope of the world". Please be an active participant in this Hope.
Verses 24 - 26 are so powerful today: ""If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?" Wow... there is so much going on in these verses... I pray they speak to you powerfully as well? Do you want to follow Jesus? Will you put aside your selfish ambition? Will you shoulder your cross? Do you know what your cross is? Are you trying to "keep your life" in any area of your life? Or, will you give up all of your life - every area - to Jesus so that you will find true life? Is there anything that this world has to offer that is worth more than your soul?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Matthew chapter 16 titled "Peter's Confession and Christ's Church" is at this link and commentary on chapter 17 titled "The Transfiguration" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings reminded me of the Needtobreath song "Multiplied" with a great live acoustic fireside version here:
Has your love for God been multiplied? Click here for multiplication!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." Matthew 16:24-25 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are following Jesus, denying yourself and taking up your cross daily. Pray that you have lost your life for Jesus.
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: In our Matthew readings today Jesus institutes the church. I'm curious what your thoughts are on the church today? And I'm not talking about any one denomination - I mean church as the overall "body of Christ" Christian churches worldwide. Big churches, small churches, house churches, cathedral churches. Do you personally go to church regularly? Why or why not? Have there been periods of your life where you have not gone to church regularly? Have these been good or not so good periods of your life? What would you say to someone now who might be reading this blog who does not go to church about church? How might you encourage someone to go to church? Why does it matter if they go to church or not? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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