Confessions

Confessions are more than everyday statements. Confessions are the stuff of change.
I am sure Jesus was alone with His disciples when He asked them this question:

“Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

His question contained a confession—He called Himself the Son of Man. This is a title almost exclusively used by Jesus in reference to Himself. Scholars debate why this was His practice with many explanations offered. Let’s take the most obvious view: Jesus was both the Son of God and the Son of Man. His mother was Mary, a normal human being who was “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit when Jesus was conceived within her. To the followers of Jesus, His confession that he was a human being was not unusual. To Jesus it meant much more. Chances are He framed the question to lead His men from the obvious confession that He was a man to the amazing confession that He was indeed the Son of God.

Getting the Answer Right.
The men gave Him a summary of public opinion and Jesus made it personal.

“But who do you say that I am?”

I can imagine the 12 of them searching each other’s faces. Who would speak aloud what they all were thinking? Peter, of course.

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

There it was out in the open. Peter waited to hear what Jesus would say. The answer was not long in coming. Yes! Peter, you didn’t just figure this out on your own. My father revealed it to you. This is the confession that will serve as the foundation of my church! My church will be impervious to the powers of hell itself and people will be freed from sin. With the confession the powers of hell will be bound and the streams of grace will be opened.

Then Jesus told them to keep quiet about it. Why? Because things were about to change. They would make a trip to Jerusalem and to all appearances the enemies will win. He tried to tell them about His death and the new life to follow. They didn’t get it. Peter, so recently eloquent in his confession, took Jesus aside and gently corrected Him. Suddenly the confession of Jesus changed. Peter the Rock became “Satan” because of his refusal to listen to Jesus.

To Follow Jesus
Not only would Jesus bear a cross but so would everyone who followed Him. The world would be turned upside down. To save one’s life, lose it in following Jesus. What is as valuable as a man’s soul? What would we trade for it? Judgment is coming! Eternal reward or eternal punishment, which will it be?

His heavy words hung in the air. He looked each man in the face before closing the subject. Some of their number would see the end when it came. Among them, young John, did not know that Jesus spoke of him. In decades to come, John would grow old preaching the Jesus Story only to be bound in prison on a deserted island. There he would see the coming of the Son of Man who is the Son of God in all His glory and John would share his vision with us.

Scriptures:
Matthew 16:13-28
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I confess that You are the Son of Man and the Son of God. There has never been anyone like You. I will take up my cross today and follow You. I will deny myself today. I will lose my life in Your will today so that today I might find it again. I will align myself with Your amazing Church built strong and steady on the Rock of this Confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” Hell can stand back and watch, raging all the while, but my voice will not be stilled. My confession stands! In Jesus’ Name.

Song:
The Solid Rock
Words: Edward Mote; Music: William B. Bradbury

1. My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
in ev’ry high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, His blood
support me in the ‘whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found,
dressed in His righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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