Day #42: Daily Bible Reading Plan - February 8th
Scripture Reading: Matthew 14 - 16 ...
Every human being who has ever lived, who is living now or who will live before Jesus returns must answer the question Jesus asked His disciples: "Who do you say I am?" (16:15). Herod, the ruler over Judah at this time, was afraid of who Jesus MIGHT be. He had put John the Baptist to death and now was afraid that perhaps he had come back to life! That's what guilt will do to you!! But he wasn't the only one who wondered who Jesus was.
The disciples were walking through the countryside with Jesus and they were seeing some rather astounding things. He was feeding thousands of people with small amounts of food. He was walking on water. He was healing the sick and casting out demons. And he was challenging the Pharisees and Saducees, the religious leaders of the Jews. Not even the Pharisees could figure out who this man was and why He was making such a commotion throughout their nation.
So finally, Jesus comes right out and asks the disciples: "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" (16:13). Were the disciples listening to the questions people were asking? Suppose someone today came doing these same things; what do you think people would say? The disciples gave various answers, but then Jesus makes it personal: "Who do YOU say I am?" (16:15). And Peter responds, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!" (16:16).
It is questionable whether Peter even realized what he was saying. Jesus explains, "This was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven" (16:17). Then Jesus points His disciples to the REAL purpose of His coming: to build the CHURCH - the "ekklesia," a group of people "called out" of the world to be a part of the kingdom of heaven, GOD's kingdom, His eternal kingdom. Jesus came to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of heaven and did miracles to prove who He was.
Like the Pharisees at the beginning of chapter 16, people today are all about signs and wonders. The truth is, NO ONE has done what Jesus did. While the disciples healed some people, no one has ever done the things Jesus did as He walked through the land of Israel and Judah. The fact is, there was NOTHING He COULDN'T do! Yet His purpose was found in His teaching and ultimately in His dying on the cross in our place.
As He began to explain what was about to happen, Peter took him aside and actually rebuked Jesus. Really?! But Jesus told him, "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" (16:23). "For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done" (16:27). Jesus IS the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the promised Savior!
As in Jesus' day, SO MANY PEOPLE still want Jesus to do what THEY want Him to do. God still does miracles today and shows His power and love and grace in a multitude of ways. But Jesus came to bring eternal life! He displayed His power to prove who He was, yet it was always about the cross ... about overcoming the barrier that stands between us and God. It was always about the Church ... about those whom God would call to Himself through the Gospel to receive forgiveness for our sins and everlasting life!!
"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. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (16:24-26). Could it be any clearer? You and I need to focus today on who Jesus is, what He came to do and WHY? To save His people from the just judgment of God against our sins.
Thank you, Jesus, for Your sacrifice in coming to earth, in giving Your life as a sacrifice for sin!! Amazing grace! You ARE the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Savior and my Lord!!!!!
"Father, as You sent Your Son into this world to reveal Your glory, I thank You for Your grace in sending Him to be our Savior and Lord. I believe the testimony of Your Word and Spirit that He IS the Messiah, the promised One, who came to suffer and die in our place, that we may have life. Oh, Lord, our God, I give you my life, that I may find in Jesus REAL life - forever! In Jesus' name, Amen"