Today’s reading from Matthew 16:15. Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” Some say, “John Baptist, or one of OT prophets” But then Jesus says, “Who do YOU say that I am?” This is the most important question we will ever have to answer. We will answer it, either now in this life or after we die. The way we answer it will determine our eternal destiny. Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” This revelation can only come when a person has a divine encounter with God through His Holy Spirit. This is not some correct answer to a true or false test or fill in the blank test that you study for. This is an answer that comes from a heart that has realized their need for God.
All of my life I grew up knowing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but that knowledge was just head knowledge. Then there came a day when I encountered God and realized what that actually meant, that Jesus came to die for My sins and that I needed a Savior. On that day, I got the revelation from God in heaven who Jesus really was! Then I answered that question correctly, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” On that day I bowed my knee to God and to all of His ways. How about you? Who do you say that Jesus is?
Today’s reading is from Matthew 14, when Jesus fed the multitudes. Jesus had been preaching all day and at the end of the day the disciples think they should send the people home so they can get something to eat. Jesus decides to feed them, over 5,000 men plus women and children, with just five loaves and two fish. These people could have gone home and eaten. It would not have been a big deal for them to not eat for one whole day! But Jesus just wanted to bless them. This kind of miracle was motivated by kindness, not need. He wanted to give them a picnic lunch for free. Not only did He feed all of them, but it says they were ‘filled.” The Greek word used here means ‘glutted!’ It means they were filled like you are filled at Thanksgiving! This was an ‘all you can eat’ buffet! Then on top of that we read that they had twelve baskets left over. I can only guess that each of the twelve disciples got to take a basket home to their families as well. For those who think that God is only interested in our ‘needs’ this story shows He is a God who sometimes just wants to abundantly bless people beyond our needs! Go ahead and ask Him!
Today’s reading in Matthew chapter 13:45-46 is a parable about the Kingdom of God. Jesus said it is like a merchant who finds a valuable pearl and goes and sells all that he has just to own that one pearl. For many years I believed that Jesus was the valuable pearl and that I should be willing to give up everything just to have Him in my life. Then one day I had an epiphany! I realized that I was that pearl and that Jesus was the merchant who gave up everything just to have me! This totally changed my understanding of the Kingdom of God.
It isn’t about how much I love God or how much I am willing to give up for Him. It is all about how much God loves me and how much He gave up to get me into His Kingdom. He calls us His pearls. Just a like a pearl has no real function but just has inherent value so it is with us. There is nothing we can do that adds anything to God’s kingdom; we are just inherently valuable to Him. How do you see this parable? Is it about us finding God or God finding us?
Today’s reading is in Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to Me all you who are weary and overburdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Many people do not realize that Jesus is a weight lifter. He is a world champion weight lifter. He is the original “Mr. Universe.” He lifted the weight of the sins of the world on His shoulders with one straight press. There is no weight that is too heavy for Him to lift. In order for Jesus to be the world champion weight lifter we need to cooperate with Him. We must come to Him. Too often when He is calling we are walking the other way. Too many times we are determined to do life our way. We don’t want to give Him our problems. This especially applies to people who have not truly humbled themselves and been born again. You wonder why you are still having the same old problems. It is simple. You are still carrying the weight of sin on your shoulders. Now the question is what is God going to do about this problem? Well He invites you to come to Him. Jesus is not going to force Himself upon you and make you give Him the weight off of your shoulders. The choice is yours. If we choose not to come to Him then we end up carrying all this weight of sin and guilt around on our shoulders. Once we are willing to give Jesus our sins, an exchange takes place, “take My yoke upon you.” We give Him our heavy burdens and He gives us a light burden to bear. Jesus said, take My yoke because, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Jesus was saying that the yoke He wore was easy. His own experience was that the yoke He wore and the burden He bore was light. What was His yoke? His yoke was to serve His Father and serving God is not a heavy burden. It is light! There are only two masters in this world and we will serve one or the other. Jesus is letting us know that serving our heavenly Father is the better way. If we chose to serve ourselves our yoke will be heavy. If we are willing to serve God and do His will our yoke will be light. Which do you chose?