Lenten Devotion

March 18, 2023

All Day

Mark 8:27-30

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Who Do We Say Christ Is?

When Jesus asked his disciples who their contemporaries thought he was, the answer he received was far from clear: the very people he had come to save and reign over as Lord and King considered him to be either (like) John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets. It was Peter who, after Jesus wanted the disciples to tell him who they thought he was, provided the true answer by asserting that Jesus was the Messiah, or the Christ, the anointed one, as different versions of the Bible translate.

The answer to the question Jesus asked 2000 years ago is no less important in 2023. How we view Jesus and who we believe and confess he is fundamentally shapes not only our walk here on earth but also determines whether or not we will have eternal life in God’s presence. Indeed, it was our Lord himself, as recorded in John 3:18, who said that whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Likewise, in Romans 10:9 Paul reaffirmed boldly that if we declare with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved. He continued (v.10): “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” However, Jesus also taught unequivocally that merely paying lip service to him is not enough. In Matthew 7:21 he says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” In other words, the act of declaring that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, has to result in our readiness to follow him with obedience to his word so that “the God of peace [may] sanctify us through and through.” (1 Thess. 5:23)

Therefore, may the Spirit lead and move us to question ourselves in the following way: Are we ready to acknowledge without reservation that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, who has the rightful claim to be the Lord of our lives? Do we, as a result, submit our thoughts, words, and actions to his will, infinite wisdom, and love? Our reward is life everlasting, as we receive his full assurance of pardon for our many iniquities: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 9)

All praise and glory be to Christ our King!

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