Blessed… How Do You Know?

Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Human One is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you.  I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it.  I’ll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Anything you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. Anything you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven.” Then he ordered the disciples not to tell anybody that he was the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20, Common English Bible).

Has your doctor ever told you that you need to lose weight? How about that you shouldn’t eat sugar or salt? Has your doctor said you need to get more exercise?

I don’t know about you, but with the exception of salt, I have heard all those and then some. One particular doctor I knew some years back was famous in town for telling his patients “Thou shalt lose weight.” Some of his patients I knew said this doctor also told them, “Thou shalt not eat salt.”

It all makes me ask the question, WHY? Why is it that doctors in general and this doctor in particular were so hung up about their patients losing weight? Could it be that these doctors only like seeing skinny people around town? Perhaps but I think it more likely that something else is in play.

It might be that doctors owned stock in apparel companies or department stores. Therefore, if people lose weight, they would make money because all those now skinny people would now need to buy new clothes. Yeah, that could be it, but probably not. If that were the case the doctors would want skinny people to gain weight so they would have to buy new clothes too.

Could it be that maybe, just maybe, because of the doctor’s education, training and experience that they know with little doubt that if we lose weight (or some other behavior) we will be healthier and probably love longer? Yes, that is probably the reason why.

In our lesson for today, our second day in the famous story when Jesus asked the disciples who he was, Peter, as usual is the first to respond but this time it actually serves him well says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” It is Peter’s faith answer to Jesus’ faith question.

For his part, Jesus immediately responds to Peter’s answer. “Blessed (I prefer this translation to “Happy”) are you Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you buy my Father in heaven.” Did you catch that?

Peter is blessed because first who knew Jesus was the Son of the Living God and second because God put this knowledge in his heart. Peter knew not because any human had told him, but because God put it in his heart.

That brings us back to us. If I were to hold an informal web poll asking who Jesus is, because most all of my readers are Christian, the overwhelming majority would respond with an answer something like, “The Messiah” or “The Christ” or some other answer along the same line of thought.

The question for today is not about our confession of Christ as Savior. For the purposes of this post we will assume that much. The question is, how do you know? Do you know because your pastor or your Sunday school teacher told you? It is good that your were listening to them, but that isn’t good enough. Do you know because your mom or dad or grandparent or best friend told you? I am so happy they took the time to share their faith stories with you, but that also isn’t good enough.

Peter was blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to him but the Father in heaven. We need to find ourselves in the same place. We know because God pursues us (prevenient grace) to give to each of us, the gift of faith. We know, not because of flesh and blood but because of a free gift of the Father in Heaven.

How do you know?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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