Monday, January 23, 2012

260 in 2012 - Day 16 - Matthew 16: Blindness, Peter & Losers for Jesus

“The problem with blind people is they just can’t see.” Yes, I said this to my students a while back and they haven’t let me forget it! Real deep huh?! I meant it spiritually, but I’d have given me a hard time too! Regardless, this is the issue in the first 12 verses. If a person is spiritually dead, the best they can do is make up rules & ways to be a good person – precisely what the Pharisees did (1-4) and what many people still do today! This is a false teaching that, like yeast, can spread throughout! Whenever we buy into a “works” philosophy of being made right with God, we have allowed a false teaching to spread.
Because of that, Jesus decides to get feedback from His disciples as to who people say He is: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Then he pointedly asks them, “Who do YOU say I am?” For others to be wrong was one thing, but His disciples needed to be right about who He was & is. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” YES – way to go Peter! And where did he get that answer? The Lord!
Jesus then predicts His suffering and death for the first time, to which Peter says “no way”, resulting in Jesus calling him Satan! Ha – totally like Peter. When God is leading him – awesome stuff, when he speaks on his own - not really so good. I can sooooo relate to Peter! This is discipleship at it’s best: teaching, correcting, rebuking and training!
The chapter wraps up with a paradox: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Live for ourselves now and that’s all we’ll get, or live & give our lives to Jesus now and get eternity with God in exchange. It’s a choice!
*What truth(s) of God have you been blind to lately? There are certainly precepts & principles in the Bible that guide how we are to live as believers. But when those become the focus of our acceptance in our relationship with Jesus, we’ve missed it. Always remember this – Our acceptance before God is never based on our performance. It’s based on trusting in what Jesus did for us in our place. Period.
*Who is Jesus? He is God, in the flesh, who came to earth to pay for your sins & mine with His life, rose again and is coming back some day to take all of us who believe to be with him forever – whoooohoooo!!!!
*So, according to verse 25, we are to be “losers” for Jesus! I have a t-shirt that has “LOSER” across the front and has this same verse from Luke on the back. I know, it’s off the cuff, but I get a lot of spiritual conversations going when I wear it! Be a loser today for Jesus…….…which, by the way, makes you a winner!

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