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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 16:13-17, where the Bible says,

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.

SOLID AS A ROCK!


Being cooped up at home has had its advantages. Though it has put tremendous pressure on my work in D.C., and added stress to an already stressful time, it has also given me more time with my wife and family (yay!). Of course that also means more time to address the many items on my “honey do” list. ☹ One of the big fixes needed before the sale of our house was the backyard deck. It runs all the way around the back of the house. Boards needed replacing, posts needed fixing, and, of course, it needed to be painted. Whew, that was a lot to do! But one product made it a lot easier than it otherwise would have been. For those “fixes” that didn’t require new boards or posts, an epoxy product easily molded to the wood, hardened like rock, and stuck to the wood like glue. You might say that it was a real savior for me. In fact, when faced with the challenges of the deck, it worked like a miracle. All I had to do was add this compound and now it’s solid as a rock.

So if you asked me, “Do you have an answer for real difficult issues with aging decks?” I can say confidently, even boldly, “Yes!” But questions like that, though important at the moment, are superfluous in the long run. Proud as I am about my work on the deck, the next owner of the house might come in, tear it down, and start from scratch. That’s the way of temporal things. That’s why our lesson for today is so important. It asks the question that matters in our lives most of all. This question, and this one alone, really needs your answer. This question has eternal consequences at stake, as well as endless opportunities. This question concerns what is “solid as a rock” for what really matters in life. The key question is posed by Jesus Himself in today’s reading, “Who do you say I am?” Who is Jesus? Is He God? Is He the Messiah/Christ? Is He the one for all? Is He the ONE FOR ME?

People were waiting thousands of years for a Messiah who could reconcile a sinful world to its creator. For those disciples who walked with Jesus, there was no one in the world like Him. In today’s reading, Peter, acting as their spokesman, boldly answered, “You are the Messiah, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.” This confession about Jesus endured to the very end of their lives; in fact, most of these disciples died for their faith in Jesus. Their mouths and lives openly proclaimed that THIS Jesus was indeed the sinless Son of God, the long awaited Messiah. He lived, died, and rose again so that we all might live ETERNALLY by grace through faith in Him alone.

This QUESTION ABOUT JESUS IS SO VITAL because the right answer changes everything. He is the world’s Savior; that’s true. But for you and for me, He is our Savior. That response is more than mere human philosophy. It is not simply about making some temporal lifestyle changes that only impact you for a moment. It’s not merely about some secret wisdom that puts you at the head of the line in life. THE QUESTION CONCERNS WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR YOU most powerfully through His life, death, and resurrection. YOUR ANSWER CHANGES EVERYTHING.

That’s one reason why Jesus presses Peter for a response. This isn’t merely about getting the right answer on a test. This isn’t some trivia that is here today and gone tomorrow. Peter’s answer not only “gets things right.” His life-changing answer calls for faith and trust in Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior. That’s why Jesus affirms Peter’s bold confession. In the verse after our reading, Jesus announces, “On this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). He thereby confirms that such a confession is solid as a rock for life now and forever.

So, what’s your answer today? Stay with us on these Mondays as we learn to know and trust in Jesus as our Savior. And know this, for the challenges that we face in this chaotic world, we need a relationship with God that is enduring, solid as a rock. With faith in Christ, that’s exactly what we have.

PRAYER – Dear Lord Jesus, Son of the Living God, thank You for being our Savior. Give us knowledge of all that You have done for us as our Lord and Messiah. Then also give us faith to trust in You in all things. AMEN.

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