Chronological Gospels: Matthew 16; Mark 8; Luke 9:18-27
This week we meet back up with Jesus and the disciples after Jesus has just fed another multitude, this time 4,000, with 7 baskets leftover. Last time it was 5,000 with 12 baskets leftover, which happened in Jewish territory, and this time it happens in gentile lands. Jesus is showing the people that He came for the Jews and the Gentiles alike.
After He feeds yet another many thousand people, the disciples head out with Jesus. Jesus gives a warning to beware of the teachings and example of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but the disciples again miss the point. They also miss the miracle of Jesus feeding another many thousand people…again.
Jesus and the disciples then carry on a very important conversation we can learn several things from. Peter confesses his belief that Jesus I truly the Messiah, and Jesus praises the fact that Peter did not come to this because of man, but because God has revealed it to him and he believed it. This is what we are all called to.
Jesus then explains the importance of holding onto this belief in faith. Those who want to truly follow Jesus must be willing to give everything up for Jesus, even their own life. This is both figurative and literal. Some will be faced with a literal life and death decision for their faith, but all of us are faced with a decision to die to our old selves and allow the Jesus to fill us with Himself giving us His spiritual life. As we go through our life growing in faith we should become more like Jesus and less like ourselves. This is a tough concept for many of us, but is well worth every ounce of pain, suffering, and discomfort for the promise ahead.
How has Christ transformed you and your life to bring Him more honor and glory?
The other main point that struck me in these passages is Jesus’ first reference to the Church. This is a passage that can be controversial for some. Based on the surrounding passages as well as the rest of scripture in context with this passage in Matthew 16, I believe Jesus is telling the disciples that He is the Rock on which the Church will be built, and that our faith in Him and testimonies build up the church. We read throughout the New Testament about Jesus as the chief cornerstone and the testimonies of the prophets and apostles are the foundation built upon Christ the rock and cornerstone.
Our testimony and witness to the world matters. Sharing the gospel and living in God’s truth help to build up the Church on the cornerstone, rock, and true foundation of Jesus Christ. Just like it was vital for the disciples to go out into all the world and proclaim the gospel to build up the early church, it is still the responsibility and privilege of followers of Jesus today to do likewise in the ways God calls, leads and provides for us to do.
How do you share your testimony and the gospel with others?
What impact have others had in your life by sharing their faith and testimony?
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