You are the Christ

MT 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”


Go Peter! You rock! (Yes, I had to go there)

We have three stages to this reading. The first part is basically Jesus establishing a political poll. Jesus and his disciples have been going about, doing their thing, and he wants to know what the public opinion is. Is that what he is really looking for? This may be something of a personal opinion, but I think he just asks to give them a basis of judging the difference between that and his next question.

Who do you say that I am? There’s a loaded question. That’s like someone sidling up to you and asking… so what do you think of me? Warning bells should be going off at that point. You better watch out how you respond to that one. It’s up there with Does this dress make me look fat?

But does Simon Peter hesitate? Not so much that Matthew chose to let us know. He immediately comes out with, “You are the Christ!” What does that mean? We through it around like a full name. John Doe. Jesus Christ. Christ was not a last name, but a title. Christ means anointed, or annointed one. To be an annointed one in those days meant one thing. King. I read somewhere (please don’t question where because I have no idea) that if you go through the bible and everywhere you see Jesus Christ to read it to yourself as King Jesus. It can really change how you read some passages.

Jesus seemed to be pretty chuffed about that. Not because Peter was singing his praises, but because the only way he could know, to be truly certain, would be if God told him Himself. From there Jesus goes on to call Peter the rock that his church would be founded on. Not only is Peter the foundation of the church, be he also serves as a different definition of a rock. He is a stumbling block. By holding up to Jesus’ standards he will cause the wicked to stumble. But he also stumbles himself, especially in the garden when he fell asleep and later flees. He doesn’t know it at this time in the Gospel, but it is likely one of the reasons why he is to become the foundation of the church. He knows from his own flawed nature that we can repent our sins and be forgiven just as Jesus forgives him of his own doubts and fears. He gives him the keys to heaven. He basically establishes that Peter will tend the Kingdom of God. He will control the doors, he will declare who will be forgiven and not forgiven on earth as Jesus declares will be matched in Heaven. That’s a load of responsibility. Could you handle the knowledge that if you do not forgive someone looking for forgiveness, they will not be forgiven in Heaven? I don’t think I could carry that burden.

What This Means To Me

The biggest thing that grabs me from this passage is the second question. “Who do you say that I am?” When it comes right down to it, the opinions of others do not matter as long as it does not influence our own. But if everyone else around us chooses to disbelieve, do we have the strength to say, “You are the Christ! Son of the living God!” I would like to say yes, but I have not been put to the test to find out.

There is an old (super old) saying that naming something gives it power. In a way it is true. If you come out and say that you believe that Jesus is Christ, King, where do you go from there? It colors your whole world. You just admitted that Jesus is your King. Can you follow that with immoral behavior? Can you support infanticide, or abortion? Or any types of killing? Jesus when being captured in the garden rebukes the violence and heals the ear of one of his captors. If this is what our King does, how do we follow that up? Can we forgive those who wrong us? Can we repair the damages down by others for no other reason than the fact that it was wrong and done in our name?

Jesus gave his life to save us from our sins. Can we do the same for our neighbors? Jesus did command us to love God and our neighbor as our selves. Can we sacrifice ourselves to save our neighbors as Jesus sacrificed Himself to save us?

I know how I would like to answer that, but deep down I’m not certain I’m ready for God to test me on it.

What do you get from this passage? What changes can you make in your life to bring this to the forefront?


Evil Generation

LK 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

An evil generation. That just sticks with me. How can a generation be evil? And why would Jesus describe the current (at the time) generation evil? The people are asking for a sign because they do not truly want to believe Jesus. They are the doubting Thomas, asking for proof. In the back of my mind I am wondering what the difference is between this “evil” generation and poor Thomas. Was Thomas evil for wanting proof that his savior and lord was still alive? Are we evil if we begin to have doubts and ask God for signs or proofs? I’m not questioning my readers here, I am questioning in my heart. I believe this is one of those times where there is more behind Jesus’ meaning that it is not yet time for me to understand.

Jesus tells us that the only sign he will give is Jonah’s sign. What was Jonah’s sign? Jonah, our favorite friend of the whales. He journeyed, unwillingly at first, to the Ninevites to call them to repentance as God told him that the whole city was to be destroyed. It is no wonder that Jonah was a bit put out when God “changed” his mind when all of the Ninevites did repent and come back to God.

There are many parallels that Jesus is giving us to lead to his coming trials. For three days and nights Jonah was in the whale (or the belly of the sea-monster depending on your translation) just as Jesus was suffering after his crucifixion. Similarly, the Good News of Jesus’ return mirrors the good news that the repentance of the Ninevites heals their divide from God and saves them.

And who is this Queen of the South? This story comes to us from 1 Kings at the beginning of chapter 10. The Queen of the South travels a great distance to meet Solomon and to hear his wisdom. And what is Jesus telling us? There is something so much greater than Solomon here.

If we put it all together what is Jesus really telling us? Jonah was indignant after God’s compassion forgave the Ninevites. Why? Because he knew that God had such compassion for His people. He claimed that was why he wanted nothing to do with the ministry placed before him. In this way Jonah was made to be a sign for the Jews in that time that God’s love was for more than just the Jewish. He loves all of us. Even those of us that don’t accept His love.

What This Means To Me

When you really unpack this one I can just say one thing… wow. The evil generation wanted signs beyond the signs that Jonah gave. Jonah brought the Good News of God to the people of Ninevah. I think this is telling us that this should be enough. God in His goodness should be enough. “Testing” or asking God for “proof” of Himself or His love will likely be our downfall. Should knowing of the Good News be enough? No, I think Jesus’ mentioning of the Queen of the South should be a reminder that we need to seek the one out that is greater than Solomon. It is not enough to know of Jesus. We need to search him out. To bring ourselves closer to him. To recognize His goodness and compassion and love. Is it enough to call Him our Lord or our Savior if we do not follow in his path?

What do you get from this passage? What changes can you make in your life to bring this to the forefront?

Leaving Everything Behind

LK 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Reading this passage I get this image in my mind. I can’t help it. I don’t know how good of an analogy it is, but it works for me. I can see a father taking aside a rebellious teenager in order to bond and to bring him back into the way of the family. I see the teenager’s siblings looking on with jealousy and disbelief as the father gives this extra attention to the one who, in their opinion, didn’t deserve it. Honestly. The child causes so much trouble and discord and here he is being rewarded by more attention?

I can hear the indignation two thousand years later.

And really, isn’t that what the Pharisees are doing? Pointing fingers at the slight that they see without looking at the bigger picture. Part of the image I see in my mind is a disapproving father frowning and saying that he needs more help to come back to the good path.

Prodigal son, anyone?

What This Means To Me

Am I a jealous sibling or an accepting patient child? Am I a pharisee or a disciple? Am I jealous of the sinner’s attention or accepting that I am a sinner myself with just as much to work on?

The truth becomes another slap in the face. We see ourselves as good and holy, doing the right thing. How often is there a little voice in the back of our heads pointing out that we are more holy than others we see. I could be wrong but I believe it is only human to have the voice. Our way to perfection, in my opinion, is on how long we allow the voice to sow seeds of dissent before shushing it. After shushing it often enough, I’m sure it will become silent all together.

And that would bring us to where God wants us. Being His face to those around us. If we do not echo Him, or at least try to, how to we bring Him to those who cannot see Him?

Do You Still Remember Me?

Courtesy of WordPress’s Daily Prompt (from yesterday) I bring you…

Do You Still Remember Me?

It has been long since I last saw you
It has been long since I last knew you
Will you still remember me?
Will you still welcome me?

I have wandered far and strayed from the path
At first I did not think upon your wrath
But now it has been so very long
I know my deeds have been so very wrong

In the beginning I wondered where you went
I missed your presence but did not know why
From your essence my soul had been rent
I had wandered too far for you to be nigh

That cavernous empty hole in my chest
How much longer until eternal rest?
The feeling of dread when looking home
How much longer must I roam?

It has been long since I last saw you
It has been long since I last knew you
Will you still remember me?
Will you still welcome me?

I want to come home

Daily Prompt: My Favorite.

The Three Doors

Once upon a dark dream
Stood a subconscious scheme
Before me stood three doors tall
Behind them my fate would fall

The first was inky black
With a sheen that oils lack
Oozing hatred and despair
I wish not to reside there

The second was of such beauty
That I did not feel at all worthy
The door painted of purest white
Was too holy, too perfect, too right

The third felt inadequate yet homely
A simple wooden door stood humbly
Neither painted nor perfectly carved
Not quite perfect but seeming deserved

The dream pushes on, the stakes are set
One I don’t want, one I feel a safe bet
And yet I feel the pull of the beautiful door
I want to choose the one which is more

Which door to choose, which one chooses me?
One of hate, one of love, one of mediocrity.
I open the pure door of the olive sprig
I choose to have high hopes, to dream big.

Daily Prompt: Just a Dream.

via Daily Prompt: Just a Dream.


When I see the wild crashing ocean
I can feel you close by me.
When I feel the caress of the sun
I know that my search is done.

Many times our faith is stifled
By attacks your church has suffered
Youth are instructed in self belief
Too many don’t see your sweet relief

It can be so hard to hear and see
When surrounded by this earthly city
Great achievements cannot be had
Until in your light we are clad

Daily Prompt: Me Time

Daily Prompt: Me Time.

I have recently begun to believe that Saturdays are a good detox time in between the work week and Sundays. When I worked at McDonalds my schedule was irregular and I wasn’t as firm in my faith as I am now. Now though I am more centered in my faith, and I wouldn’t go back to the way I was anymore.

It works best for the Monday through Friday workers, but anyone with two days off in a row knows that the second day is the true day off. I can spend Saturday getting all of the issues from work out of my system and be able to fully appreciate Sunday for what it is supposed to be, a day of worship of God.

Is this Saturday everything I want from it? So far, yes. I’ve had a good night sleep. I’ve started a new short story writing project (If Zoo, the cat, will leave my materials alone). And I have great plans for spending time with my family. It only remains to be seen how those plans will turn out, but either way, I will feel better prepared to meet God tomorrow.

Maintaining Christianity in a “Post-Christian”

This blog posting has some of the most useful Christian advice I have ever seen. As our society drifts further and further away from the good values we used to have, it becomes more important to keep hold of the values closest to us. We may not be able to affect society as a whole, but we can affect our family and how we react to the outside world. There are several items on the list that I plan to institute in my own family. I’d love to institute the No Meat on Friday ruling, but it would be a nightmare with my son. If anyone has any recipes that disguise fish as someone else, I would love to get a hold of it. 🙂

Vox Nova

Two young fish, so the story goes, are swimming casually along, talking about whatever it is that young fish talk about.  Presently, they look up and notice an elderly fish approaching.  He has a mysterious twinkle in his eye as he passes them, going the opposite direction, and playfully shouts, “Hey boys!  How’s the water?”

Once the old fish is out of earshot, the first young fish turns to the second and asks, “What the heck’s water?”

It has been observed by many people that we live in a post-Christian culture.  The Christian who hopes to stay Christian, raise her children as Christians, and help her Christian friends and family resist the tide of secularism is often at a loss.  We live in a culture the underlying presuppositions of which are, in fact, quite antithetical to the gospel.  The problem, however, is that we are very often like the young…

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One Step Away

Your heart grows warm
This creation of your play
Your pride takes form
As we take one step away

As the wealth begins to roll in
More and more day after day
Avarice sets in, deepening the sin
As we take two more steps away

With the wealth comes the draw of the flesh
Before long lust has swept you away
Further from your spouse, further from the creche
As we take three more steps away

Secrets exposed, no longer seperated
Pointing fingers, sides are weighed
Anger draws forth, loved becomes hated
As we take four more steps away

We fall apart without the love
Food and drink taken in all day
Darkness is covered like a glove
As we take five more steps away

When so much is lost, so much is missed
The grass becomes greener when we stray
Happiness is gone when envy is in our midst
As we take six more steps away

It becomes too much and we feel so weak
Easier to let it happen than keep evil at bay
We hope our sins have reached their peak
As we take seven more steps away

Our garden has become our desert
Though it is darkest before the dawn
We can stand no more to deal the hurt
No more will we be the devil’s pawn

Seeing that only the one above can save
We finally see how far we have roamed
When we are crawling we find life we crave
Only seven more steps away from home

It is only through the heart of Jesus
That we can understand the holy tome
Offering kindness is the way to forgiveness
Only six more steps away from home

On the road home we take only what we must
We find overindulgence has become gruesome
Only our staff and sandles do we mark the dust
Only five more steps away from home

Away with those that drag us down
No more will we let our hearts roam
One spouse or none until we see the crown
Only four more steps away from home

A trip of many miles takes more than just a day
Patience must be learned to undo what’s been done
Though the trip is long and the outlook gray
Only three more steps away from home

It is only in giving that we may receive
Those that have nothing are ones that know
Nothing can we take when it is time to leave
Only two more steps away from home

It takes hard work to right the wrongs
It would be so easy from the path to roam
But the work goes easier as we sing the psalms
Only one more step away from home

Only once our work is finished
And our deeds undone
Will our Father say welcome home


Yes, I know that the Poem a Day challenge is in November and April and that I didn’t participate at the time, but I like the circle prompt. :-p

Have you accepted Jesus Christ
as your personal Lord and savior?
Are you sure?

There is a darkness in the soul we all hide
Something that we dare not admit to any
Be it so dark that it’s worth to have lied
Or merely too embarrassing for the many

The rules are few; The rules are simple
To love others as He has loved us
It sounds easy but can cause a great ripple
A ripple that can fix a muddy mess

Who is a lord but one that we follow
We believe that which our lord believes
Let your promises not be hollow
But be the balm that relieves

Have you given comfort to the lonely?
Have you given clothes to the naked?
Have you fed those that are hungry?
Or have you given money to fake it?

Are you sure you
Have accepted Jesus Christ as
your personal Lord and savior?