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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 17:1-8, where the Bible says,   

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. “He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

THERE’S ONLY JESUS!


One of the things that gets Christians in trouble at times is the Bible’s teaching that Jesus is the ONLY Savior of the world. It got Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee to be deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, in big trouble. Todd Starnes reports,  

Sen. Sanders deemed Vought unsuitable for office because he believes that salvation is found

alone through Jesus Christ. He said someone with that kind of a religious belief system is

“really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”[1]

It’s really unbelievable to hear a leader in America castigate a person whose apparent crime is believing in a Savior who said, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21), clearly differentiating the scope and the roles of the Church and the State. It’s also hard to see an American Senator scold a person who believes in a Savior who says, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Instead, he and we should celebrate the fact that Christianity’s worldview fundamentally differentiates between the public authority, boundaries, and purposes of the State and those of the Church unlike any other. It also happens to undergird an American polity that has created and sustained the personal liberties of more people from more places than any other country or culture in all the world.

But we shouldn’t be too surprised. Jesus himself teaches his disciples, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20). There is a reason that Jesus is adored and scorned at the same time. It’s because of sinners like you and me who need a savior like Him. There is a reason that faith in Jesus Christ is, at the same time, both controversial and comforting. It’s because Jesus is the only one, then and now, of whom the Father said the words in today’s reading, “This is my beloved Son,…; listen to him.” Therefore He can also tell us what he said to those disciples on the mountaintop long ago, “Have no fear.” It’s true that faith in Jesus is different from other religions. In fact, when it comes down to it, faith in Jesus is not really a religion or simply about a moral way of life. It is, rather, a proclamation of freedom, forgiveness, and eternal life that comes from the person and work of Jesus alone as a gift.

So, in view of our reading from Matthew 17, if there is another savior capable of fulfilling the words of the Law and the Prophets, let me know (see also Matthew 5:17). If there is another savior capable of living our life perfectly, dying our death sacrificially, and rising from the dead for the sake of everyone’s eternal life, I’d like to hear who that might be! If there is another way of living that holds both the work of this world and the saving work of Jesus for the world in perfect tension for the sake of each, I’d like to know what that is.

Since there is no one truly like Him, we will joyfully proclaim the uniqueness of Jesus for the sake of all. We will even proclaim the uniqueness of the Christian worldview that undergirds the civil freedom and liberties of all people better than any other worldview out there. And we will happily share the joys of knowing Jesus as Savior with anyone and everyone, no matter who or where they come from. Why? Because there’s always good news when we trust in Jesus Christ alone and above all things.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for being the only Savior who could save me and the whole world. And thank You for doing it, for all of us who didn’t deserve it at all.

 

[1] https://nikeinsights.famguardian.org/bernie-sanders-censors-christians-from-public-service/

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