Read Matthew 15
Jesus rebukes the hypocrites . . . saying,This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me (Matt. 15:7-8). Jesus' first mention of the Church (16:18). Disciples receive "faith builders" in viewing the transfiguration of Jesus and the healing of the demon-possessed boy (17:1-21).
Caesarea Philippi was the location of the famous worship center of the Greek god Pan, representative of all gods of paganism. Located about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, it was situated at the foot of the southern slope of Mount Hermon. With its snowcapped peak 9,000 feet above sea level, Mount Hermon is the highest mountain in the promised land. Many believe that the transfiguration of Christ took place there (Matt. 17:1-2).
At Caesarea Philippi, in the midst of large numbers of idol worshipers, Jesus asked His disciples: Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am (16:13)? In response to His question, the disciples answered: Some say that Thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias (Elijah); and others, Jeremias (Jeremiah), or one of the prophets (16:14). But when He asked: But whom say ye that I am? (16:15), without hesitation, Peter answered, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God (16:16).
One who does not submit himself to God makes a god of himself and lives for himself. To take care of self is the driving principle of the natural man, but to submit self to the will of God is the first principle of the spiritual life! Self-denial is fundamental to confessing Christ before men. Whosoever therefore shall confess Me (10:32) signifies a genuine acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord and Savior and a denial of self from worldly lusts. Furthermore, it means to place no dependence on one's own goodness and good works for justification before God, but to rely by faith on Christ alone and in His death on the cross for our sins. Jesus said to each of us: Take up the cross, and follow Me (Mark 10:21). If we suffer (with Him), we shall also reign with Him (II Tim. 2:12).
When we truly recognize, as Peter did, that Jesus is The Christ, The Son of the Living God (Matt. 16:16), nothing will be considered too much of a sacrifice for Jesus' sake, and we will feel surprised when someone speaks of how much it costs to be a Christian. Christ, by His Spirit, has taken the place of self in order that His love may flow through us. Even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me (Rom. 15:3).
Thought for Today:
And He is the Head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence (Col. 1:18).
For Matt. 15:4: See Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 5:16. Matt. 15:8-9: See Is. 29:13. Matt. 16:27: See Ps. 62:12; Prov. 24:12.
16:6 leaven false teaching; 16:18 gates of hell the powers of Satan; 17:25 prevented him anticipated what Peter would say and spoke before Peter could.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lt. Col. & Mrs. Walter Swanson • Bible Pathway Printer: Ambrose Printing Staff, Nashville TN • Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Country: Belgium (10.2 million) in northwestern Europe • Major languages: Flemish and French • Religious freedom • 74% Catholic; 3% Muslim; 1% Protestant; .5% Orthodox; 20% Secular Humanism; 1.5% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God with a spirit of thankfulness for His goodness (Ps. 107:1,21).
Memory Verse for the Week: