Monday, August 18, 2008

What do you call me? Matthew 16:13-20

The Gospel for this week struck me in 2 ways as I read it this afternoon.

First: I heard the report about what people in Israel were saying about Jesus. Its the kind of report that journalists, students, and academics give as they try to convey other peoples ideas and observations. The disciples said what they heard; it's easy to answer questions this way. You aren't emotionally invested in these kinds of responses.

Second: I heard Jesus ask a personal question directed at a particular person, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter spoke from the heart. "You are the son of God." This is a confession, a creedal statement of belief.

Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven."
One of the real shames of the the last 2000 years the church are the multiple occasions when Christians have forced "Confessions" and "conversions." Jesus speaks honestly about the role that God plays in faith. Over the 2000 years since Christ we've regularly underestimated the Spirit's work in creating faith.

Confessions of faith come not from human strength but from God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Faith can't be forced but it can grow through the work of the Holy Spirit.

1 comment:

Nancy Marshall said...

Good point. Thank you for meditating on the Word and sharing what the Spirit teaches you. It's refreshing and enlightening.

The passage in John 16 about when the Holy Spirit comes...
particularly John 16:13 might support what you are saying.

I've thought about this with regard to conflicts in the church. Some people like to point out the sins of others (sigh)...I'd rather they analyzed their own hearts (speck/log parable). If the Spirit convicts people of their sin... it's not necessary to point their errors out to them. How many times did Jesus teach on not judging each other and letting God judge in the final judgement (wheat/tares parable and many other times too.)

This is a tangent from the Matthew passage but I agree and think it is not taught enough: The Holy Spirit convicts and leads.

lo solo (him only)

Nancy in Belize