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Thursday, January 21, 2016
Today’s Reading | Mark 8:27–30
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. (NRSV)
I used to work as the activities assistant at a children’s hospital. I often would work with volunteers in providing crafts and entertainment for children in the hospital. Sometimes I would even have celebrities come and volunteer. Often these celebrities would come as their “personality” to visit with children and perform, but sometimes they preferred to come as themselves—just to sit quietly and color pictures with patients. During one such visit, the patient was singing softly, and the celebrity singer with her joined in. The patient smiled at her singing partner and said, “You sing pretty.” Her singing partner smiled and thanked the girl. I wanted to laugh and tell the patient exactly who she was singing with, but the celebrity hadn’t come to perform but to just be present with the patients.
Jesus didn’t come to earth with trumpets sounding. He was not here to be the temporal king that people wanted and expected. Like the celebrity at the hospital that day, most of Jesus’ ministry was done quietly, rarely riding into town with pomp and circumstance.
Why? Why doesn’t Jesus let Peter go around telling everyone that Jesus is the Messiah? Because people had a very different understanding of what that meant. If the singer had come to the hospital as a singer, my patient would not have sung a duet but only listened. The patients would have gathered to listen to the singer—not color with him. Expectations change, and Jesus knew that people did not understand the true meaning of Jesus the Messiah, that Jesus had come not to rule Israel and perform miracles but that Jesus came to die for our sins.
Dear Lord, help me to remember who you are, why you came, and what you ask me to do. Amen.
Written by Katie Patterson, Junior High Youth and Mission Coordinator
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