Apostleship of Church.
..He asked “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Mt:16:16
Every day most of the Christians repeatedly pray: “Our father in Heaven ...Your Kingdom come”. How it will it be possible? Jesus Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of God in this world. Church is the body of Christ to fulfill His task. In today’s passage we see the disciples who are on the verge of a new level of revelation. It is interesting that the Revelation of the Gospel Occurs in a Pagan Territory (16:13).The place Caesarea Philippi with its temple to Pan-god and Caesar provided the perfect backdrop for the revelation to come. It is here Jesus authorized the Church to do his will in this universe and to become proto type of the Kingdom of God.
Church witnesses the identity of Christ
As we go through today’s passage we can see Jesus asking to the disciples: “Who do men say that I am?” Though this question seems to be an evaluation of His ministry, He was not seeking popular impression, with a selfish agenda like the contemporary politician. The second question is more specific: “Who do you say that I am?” Here Lord’s intention is to form an alternative community, who perceives and confesses His true identity. Peter’s confession of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, expresses the contrasts with the idolatrous association with the locale. It came against the backdrop of the confusion and false teachings about Jesus. His confession of faith was so strong that Jesus could begin talking about His death on the cross. Peter is representative of Christian faith. The connotation of the word ‘revealed’ (Greek -apocalypse) is not some personal individual spiritual experience, but the divine disclosure of the eschatological secret. Without having the right understanding of Jesus’ Identity no church can exist. Are you prepared to witness this revelation of Jesus’ identity in the midst of the fascinations of the world?
Apostolic task of the Church
The word Church (ecclesia) is found only two times throughout the Gospels (16:18 & 18:7). Etymologically the word means “called out”. Through the baptism a Christian is ordained to the priesthood of all believers. We are called out from the world not to be away from the world, but to be with the world to transform it. In Nicene Creed we declare that we believe in the holy catholic and apostolic church. An Apostle is “one who is sent away” for the mission of Christ. All believers are disciples and thus apostles of Christ. Peter is renamed Rock (Petra) which points/ suggests that Jesus has given us a new name (identity & nature not just label) and sent us to continue his work, with the authority to make decisions in his name. The church cannot escape from its struggles against the power of death and darkness but will be victorious, because Christ has overcome the world. The true Church will never die.
Prayer: Lord, help us to identify Your true identity and strengthen us to be Your witness in this world. Let us transmit Your authority to transform the world in according to the values of the Your Kingdom. Amen
Thought for the Day: Apostles are with an apostolic task.
Rev. Joji. K. Mathew, St. John’s MTC, NY