March 2018  
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2-25-18 Sermon

Lent 2   February 25, 2018                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Several years ago, we visited Niagara Falls. It was a tremendous sight.  The roar of the water, the mist spraying up from the river, the power of the water was a wonder to behold.                        

Above the falls there is a cable stretched across the river with a warning that was as far as anyone should go, or the power of the rushing river would send the boat and its occupants over the falls to death.                                                                                                  T

wo men lost control of the boat they were rowing and were dangerously close to the edge of the falls. Someone from the shore hurled a rope to the men just as they capsized their boat. One man grabbed the rope and hung on, but the other grabbed a nearby floating log, ignoring the rope.  One man was saved, the other lost, simply because of the choices they made.          

Mark’s Gospel talks about a lifeline. It’s about Jesus, who is the line of salvation when we are going down the river of certain death. Jesus, in the middle of his public ministry, was heading to Jerusalem where he knew that the cross, suffering and death awaited him.                                  

Jesus asks them, "But who do you say that I am?"                                                                                      

It got real quiet. No one was quick to answer, but Peter blurts out, "You are the Christ,” faith’s most famous words. Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who would bring God’s good news into the world.                                                     

Peter’s confession—4 simple words.  Here’s what they mean.                                                                

The first word in Peter’s confession is You.  You, Jesus of Nazareth, are the Christ.  You are someone that I know, and someone that knows me; a personal God who is very concerned about me.  Peter was saying without a doubt that he knew this savior well.                                                  

Peter brings Jesus into a personal relationship with him by using that word you, meaning Jesus was the chief character in his life. That is the meaning of Peter’s word, You.                                            

In that sense, is Jesus personal for you?  Is your relationship with Christ so intimate that His character comes through your life?

The second word of Peter’s confession is the verb are.  Peter says you are which in the English language means something for the present, and something on going. Jesus is for Peter some one for the present, and someone forever—a relationship that will not end.                                               

Is Jesus that someone for you?  Even when we have turned away from Christ, he is still in our lives whether we acknowledge his presence or not. How willing are you to let him be the power and the strength for your life?                                                        

The next word in Peter’s confession, is the word the—an adjective to describe a noun or pronoun.  Sometimes we skip the little words which seem to have no significance.                                          

In this case the is very important. It tells us that Peter was seeing Jesus as the savior for his life—one and only.  Peter didn’t say you are a Christ, among many, a savior, a God among many.   Peter said Jesus is the only one. I’m not so sure we always give Jesus that much importance in our lives 24/7.  So we really need to ask ourselves, is Jesus the only God we worship, or is Jesus one among many god’s? It’s a question each of us must answer. Does he take second place to money, Many people place making money ahead of God, or work, or time, many place time ahead of God because they don’t want to take the time to worship God or lack of forgiveness? Many place carrying grudges from the past, or finding faults in people today, preventing them from worshipping God.                                                                                                                                                

Is Jesus the only God for you or just one of the many gods that you worship?                                                                                                    

Finally, the last word in Peter’s confession is Christ-- which means Messiah, the anointed one, Son Of God, one part of the triune Godhead, who came to earth to restore humanity to God the Father.  For the 1st time, Peter grasped the momentous fact that Jesus was God.  Peter was able to comprehend if only dimly --God’s presences in Christ. He was able to make his own confession of faith. Yes, Jesus you are God, you are the anointed, you are God incarnate.  We are called to respond to the same personal question that was asked the disciples, "But who do you say that I am?"                                                                                                                        

Do we perceive the reality of the presence of God in Christ--and relate to that reality with our lives?                                                                 

Life in Christ is being willing to say with Peter, "You are the Messiah!"  not knowing what tomorrow will bring but knowing Jesus leads the way. That’s a life worth living…a death worth dying… a Savior worth believing.  We don’t know what the future will hold. We do know who holds the future--the Messiah -- the Christ.