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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, August 22, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Matthew 16:13–20

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, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. (NRSV)

If I were to pick one theme that sums up Jesus’ ministry on earth, it would be how he elevated the marginalized and looked-down-upon. He called the children to come to him when they were not valued. After his resurrection, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, even though her story would be discounted due to her gender. And he declared that Peter, a Galilean with no formal education who would later deny Jesus three times, was a rock on whom Jesus’ church would be built.

In how we look at this world, none of these decisions make sense. It’s ingrained in our society to try and gain more: more influence, more money, more power. But Jesus rejected that way of thinking and tried to teach us an entirely different way of living.

Two thousand years later, Jesus’ message still desperately needs to be heard. As COVID-19 has overtaken nearly every part of our lives, the value system of this world has been exposed. It is the already poor, marginalized, or sick—those Jesus came to lift up—who are bearing the brunt of this disease. We see a power structure that has assaulted people of color for years, that has pushed many to take to the streets to claim the truth that Black lives matter.

When the injustice in the world seems like too much, I take great comfort that Jesus taught us a different way to live. His peace and justice are overwhelming.

Lord, transform my way of thinking so that I see others as you see them. Give me the grace and courage to work for your kingdom in this world. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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