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March 7, 2017, 12:30 PM

BUT WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?

The world is more tumultuous than I have ever seen it in my life time. Our own nation is in societal upheaval. Demands are made for rights and space. Tolerance is passé. Peace seems lost forever. Therapy, puppies and crayons are not the true answers for peace. Declaring safe zones won’t bring lasting peace. We know that even in the midst of chaos and upheaval real peace can only truly be found through a genuine relationship in Jesus Christ.   

I confess that I find myself frustrated with the continual unrest, the growing hatred towards the church, and disdain for spiritual truth. I find that I must intentionally seek God to stay focused on His truth and experience the peace He can bring into my life. This is critical for the church if we are going to effectively share the gospel with those around us.

At a time when Jesus’ world was growing intolerant towards Him and His teachings, and He knew that His crucifixion was drawing near, He had the following conversation with His disciples.

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ 15He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ 17And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18’And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.’” Matthew 16:13-20 NAS

Two things stand out to me concerning this conversation:

  • First, the church is to proclaim Christ to a lost and chaotic world. Christ directly asks the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” He makes them forget those things that they have been hearing in the world about who Jesus is and to declare who they have experienced Jesus to be. Peter’s response was, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The church must make this same proclamation to the world today. The resurrected Christ is the only hope for true peace.
     
  • Also, the church must remember that Christ has empowered the church. With 70% of our churches in regression we have relegated ourselves to survival mode. We wag our heads and blame the world for our failure to be empowered by our living Savior. Jesus encourages us by saying, “the gates of Hades shall not overpower the church.” Jesus empowers us and has given us a message of hope to share with those who have no hope.  In faith, we must rise up and move into our communities in His strength and power and proclaim Christ the risen Lord as the answer to all that is broken and in chaos. 

Are you effectively proclaiming the risen Christ to the world around you? Who do you say Jesus is? Not in just words, but in attitude and actions as well. 

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