Read Matthew 15 - 17
In Today's Reading:
Scribes and Pharisees rebuked; 4,000 fed; the leaven; Peter's confession; transfiguration of Jesus; the disciples' unbelief
Caesarea Philippi was a famous worship center of several pagan deities including the Greek's Pan, god of shepherds and flocks, and the Canaanite's Baal, whom they considered to be a "lord of heaven and earth." It was 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 9000 feet above sea level, the "highest mountain" in the promised land (Matthew 17:1). The transfiguration of Christ probably took place there.
In the midst of large numbers of idol worshipers, Jesus asked His disciples: Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am? In response to His question, the disciples answered: Some say that You are John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But when He said: But whom say you that I am? - without hesitation, Peter said: You are the Christ (the Anointed One), the Son of the Living God (16:13-16).
Our Lord then introduced the word "Church" for the first time (Matthew 16:18). A "church" is a community of caring brothers and sisters in fellowship with one another and with Christ, who is the Head of the Church. The Church is composed of people who have been redeemed by His blood and are committed to Jesus as their Savior and Lord under the discipline of the Word of God. They recognize their responsibility to help one another in living their covenant relationship with Christ since the Church is the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27).
Strange as it may seem, some of the followers of Christ disregard their responsibility to fellowship with other believers on the Lord's Day. Often, without realizing it, their spiritual influence with their own family becomes weak and ineffective. Still worse, they frequently desecrate the Lord's Day for selfish pleasures. Some would love to attend but they are too old or sick.
In striking contrast, Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27; also I Corinthians 1:10) ).
15:17 draught = sewer; 16:6 leaven = false teaching; 16:18 gates of hell = the powers of Satan; 17:15 lunatic = one affected by the moon, such as epilepsy; 17:25 prevented him = Jesus spoke before Peter could speak.
For Matthew 15:4: See Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 5:16. Matt. 15:8-9: See Isa. 29:13. Matt. 16:27: See Psa. 62:12; Prov. 24:12; Jer. 17:10.
Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Thursday Morning Prayer · BP Staff: George Kopchak · Government Official: Rep. George Nethercutt (WA) · Country: Taiwan (22 million) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese · Limited religious freedom · 93% Chinese religions; 4% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 1:18