Reflection on Matthew 16:13-20

who-jesus

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+16.13-20

Scripture

You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

Observation

Jesus asks His disciples who people say He is. They reply, “Some say John the Baptist, other say Elijah or one of the prophets.” He then asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replies, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus commends Peter because he has made this confession through the revelation of God. He goes on to say that upon the rock of this confession Jesus will build His church, and hell will not prevail against it.

Application

This confession, “You are the Messiah (or the Christ), the Son of the Living God” is the heart of true faith. It is the rock that is the foundation of the church.

Jesus is the Messiah, the one anointed and sent by the Father. He lived the perfect sinless life that was acceptable to the Father. He laid down His life to set us free from sin.

He is the Son of the Living God. He is the Son, the Word become flesh. Every part of His character and ministry perfectly represented the likeness of Father God. When we see Jesus we see God.

The eye of faith recognises who Jesus is. By faith we take hold of this Son of God, and from Him we receive the free gift of salvation and reconciliation.

Christianity is not a set of rules to be obeyed or rituals to be performed in order to win God’s favour. It is a relationship. We are brought into God’s family and set free from all bondage.

Prayer

Jesus you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. You are my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.

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Reflection on Romans 12:1-8

Ro12

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12.1-8

Scripture

Don’t copy the behaviours and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Observation

Paul exhorts us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God; the kind that is acceptable to Him. We must allow God to change the way we think, becoming new people in the process.

We should always be humble, honest with ourselves and measuring ourselves by the faith He has given us.

God gives us different gifts (these are often called motivational gifts). Whatever our gifting- prophecy, serving, teaching,encouraging, giving, leadership or kindness- we should do it to honour the Lord.

Application

Many christians fail to grow in the Lord because their ambitions and desires are worldly, rooted in the flesh and in human wisdom. They forsake the most hateful sins easily enough, but they fail to grow in holiness or character.

We can change our outward behaviour without changing our heart, but this does not produce lasting transformation. Often such change becomes legalistic or religious because the focus is on changing behaviour not on changing the thinking.

When we surrender to God everything that we are, He starts to change our thinking. As our thinking changes, we discover that we are no longer conforming to the ways of the world but are being transformed by Him.

The best part is that when God does the changing in us, it is genuine. He changes us from the inside out.

Prayer

Lord I surrender all that I am to you- every thought, desire and ambition. Please bring my will into alignment with yours. Amen.

Reflection on Exodus 1:8-2:10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+1.8-2.10

Scripture

When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her own. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him from the water.”

Observation

A new king who knows nothing of Joseph arises over Egypt. He becomes concerned about the Hebrew people becoming more prosperous and more powerful than the Egyptians, so he oppresses them with forced labour.

The Hebrew people continue to prosper so Pharaoh increases their servitude. Next he orders the baby boys to be killed at birth, but the midwives refuse to do this.

A certain Hebrew woman bears a baby boy. When she can no longer hide him, she makes a basket and puts him in it among the reeds at the bank of the river. Pharaoh’s daughter comes down to the river to bathe and discovers the baby.

The baby is returned to his mother to nurse until he is old enough to be weaned. The mother then takes him to Pharaoh’s daughter who names him Moses.

Application

There must have been hundreds of baby boys cruelly killed by the Egyptians, but one is rescued and set apart for an impossible mission. It is as if the Lord sees the baby and says, “This is the one I have chosen.” He then orchestrates events to ensure that Moses is in the right place to rescue God’s people.

Each of us is created for a special task or mission in life. It is not always obvious to us what that mission is, but as we go about our daily life serving the Lord, we influence many people for Him.

Moses’ mother put her baby into a makeshift boat hoping that God would do something for her. She could not have anticipated what God would do with her small act of desperation.

We need to daily trust that God will use our small acts to bring about big effects in God’s kingdom.

Prayer

Lord, I thank you that you use small acts of obedience to change lives, even nations. Please use me today to your glory. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 14:22-33

a-jesus-and-peter

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+14:22-33

Scripture

When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

Observation

After they have fed the 5000, Jesus sends the people home. He then tells the disciples to cross the lake in the boat while He goes into the hills to pray.

During the night a storm arises, and the disciples are struggling against the big waves. Jesus comes towards them walking on the water. The disciples, terrified, think it’s a ghost. Jesus speaks to them and tells them not to be afraid.

Peter tells Jesus to command him to walk on the water. He gets out of the boat, but fear causes him to sink. Jesus grabs him, and they climb into the boat. Then the wind stops, and the disciples worship Jesus.

Application

Faith enables awesome miracles. But fear kills faith and so blocks the miracles.

When I focus on the physical world or the circumstances around me, I can easily be gripped with fear, or its little brother, anxiety.

Terror, fear, anxiety, worry- whatever name we give it- looks at the potential for suffering. Faith looks at the potential for God’s grace to be manifested.

We might believe the miracles of Scripture are real, but still fail to believe that God is right here with me now. Many people believe that God heals, but they lack the faith to claim their own healing.

Often it is fear that God will not come through for them that stops them from asking. Sometimes it is fear of rebuke that stops us from offering to pray with a friend.

Imagine if Moses had let fear stop him at the Red Sea or if David had been afraid of Goliath. All the people Jesus healed had to ask and believe- what if they had let fear stop them?

When the storms rage I need to keep my eyes on Jesus.

Prayer

Lord please help me to always trust you no matter what is happening in my life. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 10:5-15

romans-10-10-2

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+10.5-15

Scripture

If you confess with your lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Observation

The word of God is on our lips and in our hearts, and so anyone who confesses that Jesus is Lord and believes that God raised Him from the dead will be saved.

Our confession with the lips and our heart belief will save us. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Who will hear if there is no preaching? Who will call on His name if they do not know there is a name to be believed? This means that we must go out from the church and preach the message of salvation.

Application

The Good News is remarkably simple. To be saved I must speak out with my lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that He is risen.

We have a Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He must be the one I follow and obey in everything I do.

Jesus’ lordship is not a religious phrase with no meaning. It rests on a historical fact- Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead. He was dead and now He is alive.

There is salvation in the name of Jesus.

There is forgiveness in the name of Jesus.

There is healing in the name of Jesus.

There is power in the name of Jesus.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, today I declare you are my Lord. I say this not from empty religion but from the deep conviction of my heart. I thank you for dying for my sin and for rising to eternal life. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 14:13-21

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+14.13-21

Scripture

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, Jesus looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and then the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Observation

Having heard of John the Baptist’s death at the hands of Herod, Jesus goes away to be alone. The crowds follow Him, and moved with compassion, He starts to heal them.

As the day goes on, the disciples tell Jesus that He should send the people away to get food. Jesus tells them they can feed them. All they have is five loaves and two fish, nowhere near enough. Jesus blesses the food, breaks it and gives it to the disciples to distribute.

When the people are fed there is more left over than when they started.

Application

God’s economic system is different to ours. He is not limited by lack, but He turns lack into abundance.

The disciples start off with a boy’s lunch and feed ten thousand people with it and end up with much more then they had to start with.

When we are following Jesus, inadequate resources are not a limitation but an opportunity for a miracle. The problem is that we often focus on what we don’t have instead of on what God can provide.

Here are the ingredients necessary for a miracle to take place:

  • A need. People need food. God will not step in where there is no need.

  • Availability. The disciples had a little and were willing to bring that to Jesus to use.

  • Worship. Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it. This is a reference to Communion. When our hearts are focused on worshipping Jesus, any thing is possible.

  • Obedience. The miracle took place in the disciples’ hands as they stepped out in faith.

I have seen these miracles take place as the Lord has provided for my family and my church in very special ways. He is always faithful and just needs us to trust Him to provide all that we need, regardless of how much we have in our hands.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for your amazing provision and your awesome miracles. Thank you for providing more than enough. Please help me to trust you in every moment of my life. Amen.

Reflection on Genesis 32:22-31

wrestling

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+32.22-31

Scripture

Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men and prevailed.”

Observation

Jacob sends his wives, children and possessions across the river. He spends the night alone. A man comes in the night and wrestles with him. It happens that the man is God.

Jacob demands that the man bless him. The man says that having struggled with God and men, his name will no longer be Jacob but Israel. Jacob’s hip is put out of joint and he walks with a limp from that day forward.

Application

There are two ways to wrestle with God. You can wrestle in rebellion or you can wrestle in faith.

When we wrestle with God in rebellion, our motivation is to get our own way, to defeat God and to show Him that we are in control of our life.

When we wrestle with God in faith, our motivation is to come to obedience, to defeat our own sinful nature and to show ourselves that God is in control.

The attitude of rebellion is “I shall not.” The attitude of faith is, “I shall, but only by your grace.”

When we wrestle with God, we are changed one way or the other. Jacob received a new name. He was changed from “Trickster” to “Prevails with God.” His walk was changed because God marked his hip.

No longer would Jacob struggle to overcome others by cunning. From now on he was to prevail with God,

Prayer

Father I ask you for the grace to prevail with you. May I always walk in humble dependence on you. Amen.