+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening – A Collect for the Renewal of Life (Monday)
O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – Matthew 16:13-28 (NLT)
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Jesus Predicts His Death
From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
a matter of perspective
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
– Matthew 16:16 –
The answer to Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?” is a matter of perspective.
+ From a human perspective, Jesus is a teacher, a miracle worker, or even a prophet.
+ From a faith perspective. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.
However, Peter’s profession of faith and near immediate relapse into a human profession of alarm demonstrates how difficult it is to maintain God’s revealed perspective in the practical concerns of everyday life.
From a human perspective it is counter intuitive to voluntarily take up a cross… or give up one’s life in order to save it… or follow a leader to our death. But from God’s perspective, it makes perfect sense. This change of perspective requires a total transformation, or renewal, of how we think, feel, and behave. And that requires total immersion in the revealed will of God (the Bible) and openness to the power of God’s Spirit to bring about in us the changes required to live by faith.
Questions for consideration:
- What does the confession that “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” mean to you. Please explain.
- Do you ever catch yourself vacillating between a faith and human perspective? Please explain.
- What have you done to write God’s Word on your heart? Can you think of times when the Holy Spirit has reminded you of God’s perspective in a particular situation? Please explain.
Morning Prayer: For Inner Renewal through the Word
Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
“The Solid Rock (My Hope is Built)” – The Mennonite Hour Singers
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
The Rock Church In Helsinki – John Bern
Situated In the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki, Finland,The Temppeliaukio Church, commonly known as the Rock Church, is excavated directly on to the solid rock. The structure is barely visible from the street level with only the copper dome poking out of the rock. Much of its lies underground, bathed in natural light that filters through the skylight surrounding the center copper dome. A thick rocky wall surrounds the entire structure. The rough, virtually unworked rock surfaces on the interior has given the church an excellent acoustic quality making it a popular venue for concerts.
Designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969, the Temppeliaukio church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, visited by half a million people annually.