Sunday, March 5th, 2017
Matthew 16 (Part 10)
Pop Quiz In A Pagan Land
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but 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 Christ, the Son of the living God.'
Matthew 16:13-16 (NASB)*
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)
As He moved toward His Life's conclusion, Jesus traveled to His northernmost point: the town of Caesarea Philippi, a distance from His persecuting kin. We're not told of His work or purpose there. But He was prepping for His final show, and its central theme was revelation:
For His entry into Jerusalem where He acknowledged His role as earth's King, to the conclusion of His betrayal where He became a Bloody Spectacle; for His lonely climb and crucifixion where He surrendered as The Lamb of God; for His emergence from a darkened tomb in triumph as the Resurrected Christ.
But preceding all of these unveilings was one question He asked His disciples. Because the right Answer would change their lives.
'Who do you say that I am?'
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Even the pagans in a strange land knew Jesus was supernatural. They made guesses that seemed plausible.
Even the outsiders in Hollywood know supernatural forces exist. Studios, directors and writers strive to answer life-changing questions people past and present still ponder:
Who holds the power behind the scenes? If demons are real, what can we do? Should we follow pastors or prophets? If God is real, Who and where is He?
It's a pop quiz in a pagan land. Expect to take it numerous times, and your Answer changes everything.
To Be Continued...
* Article: Why did Jesus call Himself the Son of Man? https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_793.cfm
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.