Who am I?: Third Sunday in Lent, March 19

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.
On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; 
and still others, one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
Mark 8:27-29 (NIV)

Jesus picked this exact moment to announce his true, divine self. Through Peter’s great faith, we discover that Jesus is the anointed one, the Christ. Peter is the first disciple to come to this life-altering realization.

When Jesus continues, He shares with his disciples that He must endure humiliation, suffering, and torture prior to his death. Peter’s faith is shaken, and he questions this unbelievable statement. Rebuking Peter, Jesus reminds him that he should not be worried about human ways, but focus instead on God.

Jesus was willing to take the human suffering. He would die human and rise three days later in order to win our salvation, defeating sin and death. His eyes were on God’s will, not on his own desires. He knew that the sacrifice was worth the end result.

Jesus calls us to take up our own cross and follow Him. (Mark 28:34) He is not asking us to do anything He was not willing to do. And we can stand firm, knowing that in following Jesus, the end is worth any suffering.

There is only one answer to the question Jesus asks, “Who am I?” And that is, “You are my Christ! And, I am your child!”

Jesus, help us to overcome our unbelief, and let the Holy Spirit fill us with the faith of Peter as he announced you as the Messiah. Make us people who pray, believe, and are willing to take up any cross we are asked to bear in order to glorify you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rev. Will Main (Dakota Sioux)
Lawrence, Kansas

Read & Reflect: March 20-25

Read: Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-14, Matthew 10:29-31

Reflect: God is your Father, and you are his child. More so than any earthly parent could, He knows you. He knew you before your mother felt your first kick. He numbered every hair on your head. He is intimately in tune with your thoughts and your every movement because He loves you so deeply. Just like Jeremiah, He has set you apart for an important piece in his great plan. Thank God, today, for the “you” God created, fearfully and wonderfully made, loved beyond our comprehension, perfect for your work in his Kingdom.

Read: Isaiah 43:1-7

Reflect: God has called you by name and saved you through Jesus’ death on the cross. As you go forward in your life and into the place God has taken you, whether in your home, your workplace, or your community, we are reminded that He will be with us. He will go ahead of you, protect you, and fight for you.

With God as your number one fan and bodyguard, what are you still afraid of? What fears and misgivings do you have about the cross Jesus has asked you to bear?

Read: 1 John 3:1, 2 Corinthians 9:12-14

Reflect: As believers, we are children of God. But those who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior, do not know what it truly means to be a Christian. But they could! With each action we take to love our neighbor, we reflect Jesus to the world, as well as the great gift of life and hope we receive through his resurrection. Give thanks to the Lord today through acts of kindness, especially to those you might otherwise forget.

Read: 1 John 2:3-6

Reflect: People often joke that they wish life came with an instruction manual. But it does—all of life’s important lessons are spelled out for us in the Gospel! Your greatest example of how to live your life is Jesus, who lived the perfect life in order to be the perfect sacrifice and secure your eternity with God. Jesus’ ministry was about obeying God’s will all the way to the cross, but to know God’s will you must know the Scripture, in which every word is God-breathed and, therefore, important. Is there a part of the Bible you have never read? Read it! Take time this week to explore (or re-explore) God’s Word.

Read: Ephesians 6:10-17

Reflect: Following God’s will is not easy. It puts you head-to-head with the devil, who wants nothing more than to see you fail and follow your own desires. It is spiritual combat every day, so we put on the armor of Christ. Truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, salvation, and the Word are our best weapons, all of which come from being centered on Christ and immersed in His Word.

Which piece of your armor needs strengthening? Ask God for his grace to strengthen you.

Read: John 15:12, 1 John 3:18

Reflect: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Those are big shoes to fill. While we can never truly love someone as Jesus does, we can be willing to sacrifice our comfort and life for the good of others. We are not worthy of Jesus’ love. We make mistakes every day. We disregard God’s ways and do our own thing, and yet, Jesus died for us. We sometimes meet people we feel are not worthy of our time or our love, but these are the people who need Jesus’ love the most.  Who have you been overlooking? Ask God to lead you to that person.