Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Jesus Christ - Our Lord and God
Vs 16 "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
In today's passage Jesus and his disciples are in the city of Caesarea Philippi. It was a non-Jewish region, populated mostly by gentiles. Peculiar to this city was the existence of shrines and temples dedicated to various gods. That region was considered as the birthplace of Pan, the greek god of nature. Several shrines dedicated to the Syrian deity Baal existed in that region. Also in that region was an imposing marble temple dedicated to worship of Caesar. Situated on the southwestern base of Mount Hermon, the city of Caesarea Philippi presented spectacular views of all these shrines. It was as if Jesus stood at a place where all these were visible and asked a pertinent question to his disciples against the backdrop of prominent world religions and gods - "Who do you say that I am?" Whereas the common people in the region may have had various opinions of who Jesus was as one in line with the prophets, Peter, speaking up for the rest of the disciples said, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God".
Whereas all the other presumed gods were idols or dead, Peter proclaims that Jesus is the Son of the living God whom he worships. The Son of God is the very Savior who would be the Messiah who would deliver them. Jesus firstly commends his faith and declares that it is on the basis of such a faith that Jesus would build His Church - the faith community. Next, Jesus foretells His crucifixion, death and resurrection by which the Son of God would redeem all humankind. Thirdly, Jesus tells his disciples that they have to follow his path of the cross and deny themselves in complete obedience to God, the Father. By obedience, self-denial and bearing their crosses, the disciples would walk in the path of the Savior and lead others to salvation.
Today, Jesus commends the faith of all those who trust Jesus as their God and Savior in the midst of a world that projects many other idols before us. And he commands us to follow in his path of the cross. Our cross is to obey the will of God by following what his will is for our lives. By this we become the agents of salvation for many others, leading them to Christ. It is on such a faith that the Church of Christ will be built upon.
Dear Lord, give me the wisdom to discern the cross, that is, your will for my life. Give me the strength to carry it. Give me the will to follow in your path of obedience and self-denial, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Salvation begins when we realize who our Savior is.
Rev. Thomas John
Carmel MTC, Boston
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church