Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014 – Matthew 16 – Do you believe?

Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.

What Does this Passage Say?
  • This chapter is all about who Jesus is. There is a lot of confusion. The Pharisees and Sadducees certainly understand the claims Jesus is making but their tricks to trap Jesus illustrate that they do not believe in Him. They ask for a sign and Jesus correctly points out that they are reading the sign correctly but unwilling to understand.
  • Following this request for a sign, Jesus disciples struggles in understanding Jesus are evident. Here we find the disciples believing and even devoted to Jesus, but not understanding. Jesus warns against the Pharisees by calling them yeast, but they just do not get it.
  • What a striking difference between education/knowledge and faith. The Pharisees were educated but unwilling to believe. The disciples were mostly uneducated, unable to fully understand but full of faith.
  • Following Peter’s amazing proclamation of who Jesus is, Peter does something incredibly stupid. He has just made the first proclamation of Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God, and now He tries to rebuke God. Jesus is sharing that He is going to die and that death is going to be sooner rather than in old age. Peter does not like this. Now at the heart of this is he still does not understand who Jesus is. For his rebuking of Jesus, Jesus rebukes him and calls Peter Satan. In essence Jesus is fighting the temptation that Satan is throwing in His path to not fulfill His mission. Fortunately for us Jesus is steadfast in His pursuit of us!

 What is this passage teaching?
  • There is a balance that we must strike between knowledge and faith. The Pharisees had knowledge but their knowledge (along with power, greed, and status quo desires) blocked their ability to have faith. The disciples had faith but struggled with knowledge and understanding. What would be ideal is a proper mix of faith and knowledge.

 How can I apply this passage to my life?

  • Where are your pursuits? Are you striving to understand the Bible? I know many who know the Bible well but have no faith in the Bible. Let me suggest balance. Faith with out knowledge is blind and I do not believe God gave us His Word to ask us to live by blind faith. But I also believe that some of what is in the Bible takes faith to believe. Strive for balance in your life!
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