January 25, 2017
Lose to win? Jesus gave this paradoxical teaching after rebuking Peter for his insistence that Jesus should not suffer, die and be raised as He predicted. Jesus warned Peter and His disciples that if they tried in their own wisdom and strength to preserve their lives, they would instead be lost. But if they would surrender their lives to Christ, depending on Him for life, they would be saved. This same life choice is set before us. If you would choose to avoid the persecutions and troubles that the world will throw at you for following Christ, then be aware that you are choosing to gain the world at the expense of your own soul. Yet, if you would choose to follow Christ and be willing to suffer with Him for the sake of the gospel, you will find the very life you desire and more.
January 24, 2016
“Leaven” is the yeast that is added to bread dough to make it rise. It only takes a little to affect the whole. Although the disciples at first took the Lord literally and thought he spoke of bread, they finally realized he was warning against the teaching of the “Pharisees and Sadducees.” The teaching of the Pharisees was to be avoided because, although they believed the whole Hebrew Bible, they added to the law layer upon layer of tradition, until no one could keep it. Their “leaven” would lead to legalism. The Sadducees, on the other hand, denied much of the Hebrew Bible, affirming only the books of Moses. They were more interested in political power than in God’s power. Their “leaven” would lead to liberalism. Jesus warned his disciples to avoid both extremes.
January 25, 2015
Jesus had many hard sayings, but the teaching concerning His suffering, death and resurrection was the hardest for the disciples to receive. Bold Peter even attempted to rebuke Jesus for saying such things. But Jesus put him in his place with, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Poor Peter went from Peter the confessor, to Peter the transgressor in a matter of moments. One minute, he was listening to God’s voice, recognizing Jesus as the “Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And the next minute, he was under Satan’s influence, trying to dissuade Jesus from His ultimate purpose. Jesus tried to prepare the disciples for the cross and the empty tomb, but only the sight of His resurrected body and the sound of His voice was able to convince them of its truth. They finally understood that Jesus “must go” to the cross, the tomb and be raised again on the third day in order to redeem us and reconcile us to God.
January 25, 2013
The most important question of all: Who do you believe Jesus to be? We are not followers of ritual or religion, but relationship. We follow a person, Jesus the Christ. Recognizing Him as more than teacher and prophet, we receive Him, placing our faith into Him as Savior and Lord. Jesus still asks this question. And we must each answer it for ourselves.