Our scripture this week is Matthew 16:13-20.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 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 will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
People recognized Jesus as a prophet because of the lessons He taught. He spoke as the prophets of history did, warning them to repent. However, there was something different about Jesus – he was gentle and forgiving, He taught not only changing our lives but living out God’s love for all people.
Jesus wants us to see that following our own desires can’t lead us to salvation or even lasting happiness. The things we chase so fervently are only temporary. He offers us an eternal relationship with God the Father, a connection that can’t be broken.
Do we hear the prophecy that Jesus brings? Do we heed His call to “repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 4:17)? Jesus calls us all to hear and follow Him. God’s grace is there for all of us if we accept His love and share it with the world.
Loving Lord, our lives are difficult due to the things around us, but we often make it harder by the poor choices we make. Help us to hear Your word and Your call, to live in connection to You. Amen.