January 1, 2020

Matthew 16:13-20; 1 Peter 2:4-6

Christ, the Son of the Living God

Today’s passage marks a significant shift in Jesus’ ministry, for it is the point at which he begins to prepare the disciples for his death.

To begin, Jesus deftly asks the disciples to tell him who “other people” say he is. The way the passage is written, I imagine the disciples quickly responding like a gaggle of geese, talking over one another in their attempts to impress Jesus with their answers. Then, after the replies begin to trail off, the next question takes them completely by surprise, even though it shouldn’t have, “Who do you say I am?” If I was writing the script, the sound cue would be: crickets chirping to fill the space of an awkward silence as each man’s gaze shifts away from the Savior, searching for an answer. Time stands still, as Jesus looks directly at each of them; he was not going to let them off the hook. Finally, in an uncharacteristic moment of clarity, the bold, yet frequent sufferer of foot-in-mouth syndrome, Simon exclaims, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Peter’s confession marks the birthplace of the Church. To be a part of the Church in this world and part of God’s kingdom for eternity, we all must claim Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Today, as we mark the beginning of 2020, our church body must continue to faithfully commit ourselves to invest in the lives of our children and students, the unchurched community around us, and to the areas in need throughout our country and world by being enthusiastic servants and cheerful givers.