This is an audio recording of the message "A Welcome Declaration" by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 23 Aug 2020.
In our 21st Century culture, individualism is perhaps regarded as our most “inalienable right”. We are entitled to our own opinions and the right to express them. We have the right to make our own choices of what is right and true, what we want to believe, or what we regard as the supreme object of our attention or affection. It’s often put: “My truth is what is true for me. You can determine what is true for you.”
One day Jesus was in a region up north near Mt Hermon where many gods had been worshipped, sacrifices made, and bizarre things done in the name of those gods. People had done what they thought right in their own eyes – their own truth.
Against this backdrop, Jesus asked his disciples: “What are some ideas out there about who I am?” There are a variety of responses. I wonder, what might be some answers we’d get from people today? But then Jesus looks them in the eye, and says: “Well, what about you guys, who do you say that I am?” I can imagine a few moments of silent reflection.
These fellas have all witnessed Jesus’ amazing deeds, heard his parables, and witnessed his dealings with people across the spectrum of his culture – and even among some Gentile cultures. They could have come up with lots of responses: You are a miracle worker. You are great teacher. You are a very kind person. You are master over the wind and waters. You are ….
By the grace of Father God, Peter has joined some dots from the Old Testament promises and what he has experienced with Jesus: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus does not deny it or pretend otherwise, but affirms Peter and calls him blessed. At last, one of God’s people in Israel has received God’s truth: and declared it to Jesus before others.
This truth is not just for Peter, but for everyone. As those who have received this gift of truth, how might God use you and me to help others come to that same conclusion – and also make that declaration?