Today is Day 5 of our Holy Land trip. We visited the Golan Heights driving just a few feet from the borders of Syria and Jordan, spending time in the area of Mt. Hermon and Caesarea Philippi. We also visited the ancient Temple of Pan and saw the beautiful Banyas Falls.
In Jesus’ day, the people of Israel were eagerly expecting the arrival of their Messiah who would be all-powerful, restore Israel to its rightful land, and make Israel a ruling kingdom forever. When Jesus arrived, he didn’t act like the Messiah they were expecting, Instead preaching about loving and respecting everyone, even women, outcasts and all nations. He denied that he would abolish the current Roman rule, instead proclaiming news of the gates to a new kingdom that was eternal.
Jesus went about preparing a team of disciples who would help to change the mindset of the Israelites in the human expectations of how their Messiah would act. Jesus used signs like turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana not to show power and strength, but instead to show that he was of God who could change the nature of things with love and healing, rather than with power and force.
The disciples asked: Who is this who can even make the waves obey?
Jesus took his disciples to Caesarea Philippi and it was here that Peter recognized Christ: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:13-18)
Our host asked us to reflect this evening:
1. Like Peter at Caesarea Philippi, have I recognized Jesus as the Messiah?
1. How many times have I refused suffering?
2. How many times have I rebuked Christ?
3. How many times have I questioned Christ, even in front of others?
4. Am I ashamed of how we have divided the church from what God intended?
5. Who is Jesus for me?
Blessings, my friend,
For more stories from this Holy Land trip click here: St. George's Holy Land Blog