Our devotional this week focuses on the most profound question in the history of Mankind. It is a Question that all people will face at the judgment. It is a question we must face each day of our lives.
Father, help us to see that in all things Jesus is LORD. In Christ's Name Amen
Open your Bibles to Mark Chapter 8, and read verses 27-30. As always read it over several times and let it into your heart.
Caesarea Philippi was unmatched for it's beauty and strength in Jesus' day. If God's Kingdom were established, it surely would look like Caesarea Philippi. Perhaps the loveliness of this place inspired the question that Jesus asked the Apostles.
Ecclesiastes 3:11, says that God has put "eternity" in our hearts, this means that all men have an "sense of worship." Although many have repressed this gift, God has designed us all to know Him and worship Him, and no one can be at peace until he enthrones God in his heart.
Psalm 19 teaches us that the beauty of nature declares the Deity of God in a way that is understood by all people. Is there anyone who hasn't looked up into the starry sky and not felt a sense of awe and wonder.
One of Satan's strategies is to keep people so busy and distracted with "keeping up", that they never see the glory of God in his creation. When we try to share our faith with the lost, we need to make use of these "voices" that speak to all men and to be aware of the "eternity" in the hearts of all people.
John the Baptist
Although John had never performed a miracle, such was the power of his speech that all Israel held him to be a living prophet of God. His call to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and to make themselves ready for the Messiah, focused peoples attention away from the corrupt Temple and Priesthood and set their eyes on God's Kingdom and their place in it. Many believed that God had raised John from the dead and had empowered him to do miracles.
Elijah was one of the greatest heroes of old. He had stood up to King Ahab and Queen Jezebel with her 400 prophets of Baal by declaring a drought and famine, and by calling down fire from Heaven. He even raised the dead. Many believed that he never died but was taken to heaven alive by the fiery chariot and would one day return to announce the coming of the Messiah. (see Malachi 4:5-6)
Just as The Law declared the history of creation, and the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham to establish a covenant with his descendants, the prophets were chosen by God to speak His living word to people of their generation. There had not been a mighty prophet in Israel in 400 years. Many believed that Jesus was chosen by God to be as one of the mighty prophets of old.
Satan has worked for 2000 years to give man a multitude of responses to Jesus' question "Who do you say I am?" His greatest victory has been to lead men to think that it is just a matter of personal opinion with no consequence. Even many of those who look to Him for salvation, don't know His teachings and do not seek a living relationship with Him, of faith and obedience.
"YOU ARE THE CHRIST!", what does this mean? In Jesus's day there was much confusion regarding The Messiah. As the name implies, he would be God's anointed king. Like David, he would be a fearless warrior and a passionate keeper of The Law. Like Solomon, he would be "God's son", full of wisdom, a bringer of peace and wealth. People expected The Messiah to end the Roman occupation of Judah and establish Israel as a sovereign nation.
The Scriptures said many dark and difficult things about God's Messiah. The Prophets said he would rein forever, yet they also spoke of one who would be killed. Many thought there would be two Messiahs. But no one, not even Satan himself, understood that The Messiah would be God incarnate.
Certainly The Messiah would be a great man, yet still, only a man. A man who would be born, and a man who would die only to pass into history just as all men do, soon to be forgotten.
Peter's confession was true, but it was not accurate. Jesus would go on to teach his Apostles about the true nature of God's Messiah. He accomplished this through The Scriptures, His Word and the work of The Spirit.
How blessed are we to have these witnesses to testify to us today, that Jesus is the Christ, The Messiah of God, and that He died and rose again to life, to reconcile us to God, and that He will return to judge the living and the dead, and to establish His Kingdom for ever and ever.
How we regard the person of Jesus has eternal consequences. Those who consider Him "just a man", make God, His word, and The Spirit, all liars and deceivers. Those who look to Him for salvation, who don't know his teachings and do not seek a living relationship with Him, of faith and obedience, will one day hear him declare:
"Then he will say to those on his left, `Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
May we be faithful witnesses of Christ's Deity in all we
say and do.