Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

One Body and One Baptism
Matthew 16:13-19

Rev. Denny Philp

Carmel MTC, Boston, MA

"Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” 12 Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Matthew places this incident (13-16) in between the narrations of the misunderstandings of the disciples. In the beginning of the given passage, the disciples did not at first comprehend what Jesus meant by the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.(v.12). In the later passage, they do not comprehend the passion prediction of Jesus (v.22). Here the writer attempts to communicate the essence of faith upon which the Church, the body of Christ is built.


Faith: Sharing a community experience: The order of Jesus’ questions is important. The first question is “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”. It is not a mere question coming out of Jesus’ curiosity  nor does Jesus discard the answers given by the disciples. It is to be seen as a question from which faith develops. It is what others believe is the raw material from which our faith evolves or finds its form. So faith is not merely a private affair but it always has a relationship to what others experience, perceive and believe.
Faith: Personalizing the community experience: The second question, “But who do you say that I am?” is an important and essential advancement in faith. From what the community believes and from their own experience, a person internalizes faith. There is a building on the faith of the community. Here a clarity of understanding of faith develops. What is believed, becomes more clear, vivid and personal. This helps to distinguish between what others believe, what I believe and where I stand in faith.

Faith: Affirmation and Proclamation: It is the personalization of faith that equips Peter to make the affirmation that Jesus is the son of the Living God. It is this maturity in Simon that makes him Peter (Rock). Church is built on the affirmation that Christ is the son of the Living God which comes out of mature faith. This affirmation is powerful enough to withstand the gates of hell, persecution and misleading teachings. Church is built in the sharing of the proclamation.
Faith: Divine revelation and Gift: Jesus’ statement, "flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" affirms the truth that faith is not an intellectual activity resulting from human efforts. Instead it is a God given gift. A mature faith proclamation is possible only when we submit ourselves to the Holy spirit.
Children through baptism are exposed to the faith of the worshipping community. As they grow, they more clearly understand, personalize and affirm the faith of the fathers and mothers and make it their own. This in turn would qualitatively mature the faith of the community.  May the Holy Spirit works through us that we  may become ‘rocks’ on which Church is further built.


God, reveal to us Your glory that we may be able to see and understand ourselves more clearly. Amen.
Are we building up heaven through our life and ministry on this earth ?

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