The Right Answer, Right?

 

 


kid-with-hand-raised

 

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Every day following Jesus was like school for the disciples.  He was Teacher and there was something to learn.  Students want to please the one that instructs them.  It is a shot to the adrenalin and the ego to be told that you have the correct answer.  To have the correct answer in following Jesus, it is about observation and a proper familiarity of the substance of His life and ministry.  By the time of this interaction Peter had the chance to get in on both.

The non-million dollar question was “What is the word on the street about who I am?”  Just being aware of what is the buzz is easy.  Loose, general ideas about Jesus were like a dime a dozen due to all the would-be saviors or travelling rabbis out there in Palestine.  Kind of like now with gurus of the day.

But to look beyond that with your own discernment, born of faith is another thing.  Simon Peter was able to answer the million -dollar follow up question that came.  “So now, beyond popular opinion, who am I to you?”

Peter’s answer is a birthing of God’s word about the Word.  Jesus is the ultimate unveiling of the nature of God while being God Himself.  As expressed in Christ, there were certain dimensions about this Jesus of Nazareth that could ultimately be known in the heart by the work of the Holy Spirit.

“You are the Messiah.”  There had already been a long line of messiahs in the Old Testament.  They were called kings of Israel.  Those kings were anointed by priests to do the work of God.  What makes Jesus different then?  The word “the” is the operable term.  Jesus had a unique kingship and Peter knew it to be that of the promised one.  Jesus is the promised one that would have and bring special meaning to the world around Peter.

“The son of the living God.”  To fully appreciate the heavenly connection, one would want to look at Psalms 2:12.  In it’s day it was about the Davidic kingdom but it resonates prophetically.

Psalms 2:12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
 and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

In a pagan kingdom the king is considered the son of whatever god it is of the day.  By Peter saying Jesus is the son of the living God he is saying that there is a heavenly context to His kingship because this God is not mute stone but living.  Important distinction.

So my questions for you and I are these?  Do we live like Jesus is alive?  Does Jesus have meaning to us that is above the stone cold reality we too easily rely on?

 

Advertisements

The Bread–Taking It, Leaving It or Taking To Heart

Image

John 6:43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

 

Sorry for the huge passage I put into the blog.  But I felt that if I took anything out, it would hard to appreciate the weight of Jesus’ question and Simon Peter’s response.  This could be the second best response to a question from Jesus that he ever asked. 

 

So here is the context.  The crowd is saying that they are not taking what Jesus is offering. 

 

What is Jesus offering?

 

A-      The Eucharist.  Jesus to be taken in communion in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. 

 

B-      Jesus is to be received in the context of being the Son of God.  This has the connotation of Jesus’ presentation of Him being a son in the literal sense.  For my brothers and sisters who are not Catholic, if the Eucharist is just figurative, then His sonship is figurative too. 

 

C-      The nearness of God.  Such a nearness that we can be taught by God.  The word is near in your heart and in your mouth (Romans 10:5-9).  Along with this, the new covenant is hidden in the old (Augustine).  To be taught by God about Jesus is to see Jesus hoped for in the Old Testament. 

 

D-      The words of Jesus and the work of the Spirit gives life.  Real life that transcends the fleshly perspective. “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

 

In light of the recoil of the flesh at knowing Jesus as Lord in this way, the exit door may have looked really good. 

 

But that did not stop Simon Peter and the rest of the Twelve.  Simon Peter was speaking for himself and the rest of what the disposition toward Jesus should be, His words are rooted in a realm of eternity and thus has the greatest value.  We know from Hebrews that Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our good confession (12:1).  In this divine encounter Simon Peter makes a confession in faith but out of desire, or hunger, for righteousness.  Jesus is the means for that hunger to be filled.  So long as Jesus lives, Simon Peter counts as nothing his fishing trade.  And now we know He lives forever. 

Dishonorable mention to Judas.  He heard the words about the body and blood, but did not cherish them.  In his remorse later, he realizes how precious the blood was that he betrayed.  What is your choice?