We can access entertainment news twenty-four hours a day! Many television channels dedicate themselves solely to celebrity news. We can read about the lives of celebrities on the Internet, in the checkout line, even in daily papers. And you know the old saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity!”
In Jesus’ day, publicists, tabloids, and agents did not exist. So Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” I don’t think Jesus has a concern about ratings or celebrity rankings. He merely sets the stage for the next question! But the disciples quickly rattle off all the local “gossip” about their rabbi: “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” I imagine there is some fun in the conversation and that they all have a good laugh about some of the responses.
But then, Jesus shifts the conversation by saying something to this effect, “Well, that was fun; but who do you say that I am?” And, suddenly, the disciples confront a new reality. It’s not enough to know about Jesus; we are called to know Jesus. And Jesus desires that we know him deeply, intimately, and consistently. How will you answer Jesus’ question?
Whatever your response, Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Today perhaps you need to have the courage to claim Jesus as Lord for the first time. Perhaps you need to reclaim Jesus as a priority relationship in your life. Whatever the answer, know that Jesus loves you unconditionally. Who do you say that Jesus is? What do you need from Jesus today?
Jesus, forgive me when I have not known how to answer your question. Give me the courage and faith to claim you today and always as Savior and Lord. Amen.
All the texts bear witness to the rich and powerful sovereignty of God, who generously gives life. In the Exodus text, both the future of Israel and the future of God’s plans for all humanity are imperiled. At one level, the infant is saved only by the cunning of his mother and sister and by the compassion of the Egyptian princess; but, truthfully, Moses is saved only by the grace of God. Psalm 124 looks beyond the birth of Moses to the moment of the Exodus and celebrates with great joy God’s redemption of the people. Only by God’s help can humans nd life and freedom. In Romans 12 Paul calls for the transformation of the person through the power of God. We are to “be transformed,” thus placing primary emphasis on the activity of God in the life of the Christian. The Gospel reading is a confession of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Matthew emphasizes the rootedness of the church in the disciples’ recognition of Jesus’ messianic nature.
• Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. When have you had a scary experience that God’s “grand plan” made successful?
• Read Psalm 124. Looking back on your life, where can you see God’s hand guiding you through rough times?
• Read Romans 12:1-8. Take time to answer the writer’s ques- tion: “How are you using your gifts in your church and in your community?”
• Read Matthew 16:13-20. Who do you say Jesus is?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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