Just a little ways north of Galilee lies a cultural and religious crossroads. There the waters from Mount Hermon spring so gloriously from a cliff into a moist, lush valley below that early local worshipers of Baal-gad exalt the god of ground waters as their deity. Later the Greeks and Romans erect shrines so travelers can worship there: one to Pan, a mythological god of the earth, and one to Caesar, the emperor. The shrine to Caesar is erected by Herod the Great, a Jew. Later, Phillip, the Jewish tetrarch, maintains his father’s allegiance to Caesar by adopting this place as his own. He called it Caesarea Philippi—a disheartening place to visit for any devoted worshiper of Yahweh.

Jesus—true Deity incarnate—stands in that place and asks a preliminary question of his disciples. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The waters gushing from the cliffs nearby are known to be the headwaters of the Jordan River, and so the entire history of Israel and the mighty prophets of old are on the minds of the disciples already. Those prophets’ names being given to identify Jesus might be flattering if Jesus were anyone else. So Jesus asks them the main question: “But who do you say that I am?”

The answer springs from Peter’s lips just like water from the cliff. Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Living Water; Baal-gad is not. In Jesus all things hold together; not in Pan. And Jesus, rather than Caesar, is Lord.

Jesus’ identity as Christ marks him as the central figure of all history who mediates between God and creation as High Priest. He alone is the Son of the Living God.

Lord, may popular opinion not alter my personal conviction that you are the Christ. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Matthew 16:13-20

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Leccionario Semanal
August 17–23, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

Genesis now introduces a painful turn in the story of God’s people. The Israelites are forced into slavery; yet amid this dark time, a baby boy, Moses, is born. God has already begun the story of their deliverance. The psalmist recognizes that the Israelites would be overwhelmed and swept away without the help of the Maker of heaven and earth. Paul gives the Romans two specific instructions: First, they should be changed so that they follow God’s ways, not the world’s. Second, they must understand that they all need one another. Each child of God has a part to play in the overall body of Christ. In a famous passage in Matthew, Peter makes the basic Christian confession: Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. How can you serve in a priestly role?
Read Psalm 124. Reflect on the many ways God has blessed you and your community. Consider writing your own song of ascent.
Read Romans 12:1-8. What part of yourself are you holding back from God? How can you bring your whole self to your faith?
Read Matthew 16:13-20. Why do you think it is important to fully understand Christ’s identity before witnessing to Christ’s mission?

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