“But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
~ Matthew 26:56 (NKJV)
The birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was not some random cosmic accident. Mere chance had no hand in it. The redemption Christ brought to this world was the result of a glorious and eternal plan of salvation for a lost and dying world. Since the first man fell from righteousness and succumbed to the temptation of sin, mankind has desperately needed a Redeemer. Jesus is that Redeemer. All that was accomplished from His miraculous birth, through His sinless life, sacrificial death and justifying resurrection, was done that God’s Word, what the Lord had promised through the prophets of old, would lovingly, mercifully and gracious be fulfilled. May we embrace Christ and what He has done for us.
“Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven... And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me…”
~ Matthew 7:21 & 23 (NKJV)
What greater tragedy could there be than on the last day, believing you are going to heaven, to hear the Lord Jesus utter to you the words, “Depart from me, I never knew you”? I think what Jesus is trying to teach us here with these stark words is it isn’t enough to simple say you’re a Christian. It isn’t enough to say you believe in Him and follow Him. Jesus doesn’t accept mere lip service. It is he who does the will of the Father who enters into Christ’s kingdom. Jesus doesn’t want your words, He wants you. So not everyone who merely says “Lord, Lord” or “Jesus I know you” is saved, but those who truly and sincerely desire to love and serve Him.
Jesus wants people who are completely dedicated to following Him. He is seeking true disciples. Those who want to learn from Him, be like Him and be with Him. Jesus wants the confession of our mouth to match the character of our life. If we say Lord Lord, if we confess to know Him, then He desires for our life to show it. He wants our faith to be reflected in our good works. And Christ warns us, if we merely acknowledge Him with our lips, but don’t live for Him by faith, then we are in jeopardy of hearing those eternally frightful words from the Lord, “Depart from Me, I never knew you”.
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.”~ Matthew 16:15-16 (NKJV)
This, beloved, is the only answer that will suffice in the eyes of God the Father. Jesus, you are the Christ, the promised Messiah, and not only this You are God’s own dear begotten Son. Peter’s confession is short, but it embraces all that is contained in our salvation. Jesus is not only the Son of Man, but Son of God, the living God in contrast to false gods and dead idols – Jesus is the only begotten Son of the one true and living God. It is in Jesus alone the sinner is loved, forgiven, justified, and reconciled to God the Father.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)
The poor and needy; the weary and heavy-ladened; the soul sick of sin and of the world; the sinner conscious of guilt and afraid to die, may come to Jesus Christ and live, the invitation is as wide as the world. The child and the old man may seek and find salvation at the feet of the same Saviour. No child is too young; no man is too old: no one is too great a sinner. Christ is “full” of mercy, and all who come shall find peace. O how should we, in this sinful and miserable world, borne down with sin, and exposed each moment to death – how should we come and find the peace which he has promised to all, and take the yoke which all [who have believed on Him] have found to be light!
~ Albert Barnes, Notes On The Whole Bible
[They] honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. ~ Matthew 15:8a (NKJV)
The Christian faith is first and foremost a matter of the heart. If one thinks living for Christ is simply, or primarily, going through a set of religious rites and rituals, they have missed the point entirely. Sadly, we can convince ourselves otherwise. Many do practically, though maybe unintentionally, honor Jesus with their lips while their hearts are far from Him.
The Lord made this clear even under the Old Covenant with Israel. He desires our heart. Though true believers in the Lord Jesus should honor Him with their lips, it should be from a heart that is drawn near to Him. It isn’t either or, it’s both. May we not depend on our outward conformity as the basis for our experience with God, rather may we be inwardly convicted and surrender our whole hearts unto Him honoring the Lord heart, mind and soul.
"Who do you say that I am?" ~ Matt. 16:15
From ancient philosophers to modern scholars, people have delved into timeless questions. What are the origins of the universe? Is there really any such thing as good and evil? Where did man come from? What is the meaning of life? Mankind has relentlessly prodded and plied on these ubiquitous questions with little to no avail for centuries on end.
Yet, there is only one question that truly matters. It is the one question every person must eventually face. This crucial question draws a spiritual line in the sand which divides and defines the whole human race. It is a question of reckoning. This essential question confronts the man, challenges the mind and pierces the very heart and soul.
Jesus puts this question to everyone who ever lives, “Who do you say that I am?” And to be sure, there are as many opinions about who Jesus was and is, as there are about the origins of the universe. In Jesus’ own day, He was likened to Elijah and Jeremiah. Some thought He was John the Baptist. Yet, all of these answers fall short of the glorious truth.
Peter, the Apostle, replies to our Lord’s question saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This, beloved reader, is the only satisfactory answer. None other will do. Jesus is the Christ, or He is nothing. And while foolish men may continue their search for the meaning of life, Jesus is Life. And He is asking you, “Who do you say that I am?” May your answer to this ultimate question echo Peter’s own, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.