Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 5, 2020
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And 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. Matthew 16:13-17
Clarity on the identity of Jesus is essential if we hope to ever have clarity on who we are meant to be. In the days that Jesus walked the earth, questions of his true identity swirled about in every area of Jewish society. The crowds and masses wondered if he might be John the Baptist. The educated and religious elite publicly tried to silence his message, yet privately wondered if he might be the one foretold by the prophets of old. Yet to those who knew him best, walking with him day in and day out, he said, “Who do you say that I am?”
No amount of historical study or awareness of current events and cultural trends will bring true clarity on the identity of Jesus. Illumination and clarity of vision is not the fruit of our applied intellect but is the hand of God gently leading us out of darkness and into the light. As Jesus himself says, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.” Jesus continues, turning now from his own identity to the mission he longs to give to Peter. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
When the Father gives us eyes to see Jesus as he truly is, Jesus in his love also teaches us to truly know ourselves. There is great truth in the fact that you and I long for identity. We long for purpose and clarity on who we are and what we are meant to do, and we spend much of our lives searching for it in our jobs, in our physical appearance, in relationships.
One of the great challenges we face in life is to believe Jesus when he speaks identity over us. Yet in the face of countless competing claims and visions of the “good life,” we must cling to the fact that the way of Jesus is the only way to ultimate freedom and purpose. We must trust and believe that his vision of our lives is the truest word that can be spoken over us, and that it always leads to our greatest joy and to the furthering of his Kingdom!
Father, help us to see Jesus as he truly is, and to receive from him our deepest identity and Kingdom purpose in this life so that we may be made ready for the life to come. Amen.
Where do you find meaning and identity in your life? What threatens to give primary purpose over and above the word of the Lord spoken over you?
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