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.

Who do we say that Jesus is? If we claim to know Him, our lives must reflect the things He taught – loving God, loving neighbor and making disciples. Sadly, we are often a poor likeness of the Messiah and don’t represent the values He instilled in us.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warns “And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell” (Matthew 5:22). He teaches that loving one another means not insulting each other when we disagree. Our differing opinions must not be cause for verbal harm, much less physical violence.

We’ve done a lot of insult and injury to each other over time, and it is often difficult to forgive those who who have hurt us, but Jesus calls us to do that as well. Seeing others insulted or injured should spur us to action to help stop the hurting we cause each other and begin healing our relationship with each other and our Savior.

Loving Lord, we are Your brothers and sisters, often acting like spoiled and unruly children toward each other. Help us to be more like You in our words and actions, loving all Your creation. Amen.

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