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Pentecost 20 – Friday Devotion

Readings:  Deuteronomy 24:10-25:10 and Matthew 16:13-28

Matthew 16:15-20 [Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ.

 

“You Are the Christ”

What a strong profession! The Christ, the Son of the living God. How could Peter possibly know that?

Yes, they had been together for about two years at this time. Peter had seen the miracles. Healing had taken place. Jesus raised the dead. Thousands were fed with just a little food. Jesus forgave sins. But was that enough? No.

In the words that follow the above Jesus tells of His ultimate purpose to go to Jerusalem. Peter steps in to try and stop Him but it is there that Jesus would complete His mission. He wouldn’t let Peter interfere. He set His face. The journey would be complete.

It is this strong profession that has become the foundational statement of faith for the Christian Church. Without Jesus on what is the Church built? Nothing but the words and ways of man.

But it is built on so much more. Jesus calls Peter’s proclamation a rock. A little word play is taking place. Rock, in Greek, is Petros. It is a solid foundation. God calls us to build on the rock of faith, the faith given us in Christ Jesus. It is that same faith Peter proclaimed.

Yet, there is more to this faith.  It also includes forgiveness.  Jesus earned that forgiveness when He gave His life on the cross.  When He hung His head in death we gained the assurance that He had completed all He came to do. We are no longer separated from God.

God tells us to forgive. It’s not always an easy thing for us to do. It hurts when we’re wronged. We want to get back at the other person! But that’s not up to us.

Think of what life would be if God decided to get revenge instead of forgiving us. We would be without hope. When we refuse to forgive we put ourselves above God. And the First Commandment reminds us we are to have no other gods.

So, as hard as it may seem, we forgive. We do so because God has forgiven us. We forgive because of Christ, the Son of the Living God Who has come for our forgiveness and our salvation. Knowing that, today, we live in God’s love, we seek to share that same love with others. We want them to have the same hope we have.

Today, take time to proclaim Jesus the Lord of your life. Share Him, and His forgiveness, with someone else. Let them know the hope you have. Then, pray the Lord would welcome them, and you, into His eternal Kingdom of heaven.

 

PRAYER:  Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the gift of Your Son and the forgiveness He won for us. Lead us to share the hope You bring to us as we share the faith to which we have been called, through Him Who came for us. Amen.

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 16:15–20.