Friday, November 20, 2009

Who Do You Say He Is?

Mt 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
Mt 16:14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Mt 16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Mt 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Mt 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
Mt 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

I had a "heavy revy" a couple of weeks ago about these verses and a belief I had for a long time was corrected as a result. But first, let's figure out the who, what & where's and then I'll explain to you what I learned. We read in verse 13, they are in the region known as Caesarea Philippi which is a very "Roman" and very pagan city, which is just a nice way of saying that they didn't adhere to the Jewish belief or lifestyle and was very worldly. What the verse doesn't say is exactly where they are. Jesus took them to the temple (no not THAT temple), this temple is dedicated to Caesar Augustus that was created by Herod the baby killer, who also built a temple for Zeus and and for the Greek god Pan.

Ok, so why is this temple important? Here is why not only the temple is important but who is was dedicated to. His full name was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus and he was the first Roman Emperor and his reign was from 31 B.C. to 14 A.D. Now Augustus Caesar was considered the following, The Son of God and God, worthy of our worship, savior of our world, and he came to bring - peace, order, man's rights and paradise on earth. He is like you and me - god as man and man as god. He is the high priest and king, the long expected one. Simply put he was looked upon as the Messiah Man which is the philosophy that one man can lead the world to peace and prosperity. In one place we have an example of "Hellenism" or a worldview that says my truth is my truth and your truth is your truth (relativism) and a worldview that focuses on ME and my needs and my pleasure. Ok so now we know who he was, let's go back to the verses and see why this is important. Who do they say Jesus is? The true SAVIOR of the world and not Augustus. What else? Jesus says HE is going to build HIS church on this rock of paganism not on Peter like some people have been taught (my heavy revy). HE is standing in this temple and telling HIS disciples that THIS is where HE is building HIS church HIS assembly and HE will lead us as we go against the gates of hell itself! Are you ready?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Calming The Storm

Mark 4:35-41

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I was reading a column last week by Dr. George O. Wood who is the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God church, and he was discussing this scripture and raised some good points. In our culture today, after a long day we can’t wait to get home and relax and rest. Or if you are an evangelist, you look forward to getting back to your hotel room and rest, especially if you have to deal with a lot of people every day. While they did have “Inns” in those days, we know there wasn’t one anywhere near where Jesus was teaching. So in this case they did the next best thing and that was to get in the boat and travel to their next destination. They were all tired and also they were very protective of Jesus. Now as Dr. Wood points out, they traded one stressful situation for another. Now here is the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say). We tend to think of the disciples as big strong men and not fearful or anything right? Wrong, you have all these guys in the boat with Jesus, and they were headed to the other side of Galilee where no religious Jew had ever gone before, that’s nightmare #1. And the reason it is a nightmare is because these guys aren’t used to traveling by boat. And the place they were going to was not only considered “ritually unclean”, it would be considered X-rated by today’s standards. Nightmare #2 comes where the storm hits and is blowing the boat around. Can you imagine the frustration the disciples must be feeling when all this is happening, and I'm sure they were wondering where Jesus was. It says in verse 38 that He was asleep in the stern and not worried about a thing. Finally we read that they woke him up and HE then commanded the storm to be silent. We read about that and we think “whoa, that is so cool”. But in verse 41 it says the disciples were terrified! Why? Because until that moment most people believed that is was the god “Baal” that controlled the weather and Baal is considered the life giver and was supposed to provide people what they needed. As a result of what they saw, they realized right then and there that Jesus was more powerful than “Baal”!

Thanks as always for Rabbi Ferret who without him I wouldn’t be doing this, and Dr. George O. Wood for the basis of this, and for those that would like to read the article, the link is posted below.