Jesus the Messiah

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

Matthew 16:16

In one of the crucial scenes in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was. Did they think he was one of the prophets, perhaps even Jeremiah or Elijah reborn? Before any of the others could speak up, the always impetuous Peter spoke up: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

What did it mean for Jesus to be the Messiah? It meant, literally, that he had been anointed with oil, a sign of authorization and blessing. Figuratively, it meant that Jesus had been appointed by God to usher in the kingdom of God and to rule over that kingdom alongside God. Even the phrase "Son of the living God" pointed to the royal status of Jesus. In the Old Testament, the human king was sometimes called the "Son of God" (see Psalm 2 and 89, for example).

When Peter confessed Jesus to be the Messiah, no doubt he, along with most Jews of his day, expected Jesus to vanquish the Romans and establish a literal kingdom in Jerusalem. The title of Messiah was, therefore, potentially misleading, which helps to explain why Jesus rarely used it. Yes, he was truly appointed by God to usher in the kingdom, but the nature of this kingdom and the way it was coming were not what people expected.

As followers of Jesus, we are to join in his kingdom work: announcing the good news, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, etc. At Laity Lodge a few weeks ago, Gordon MacDonald challenged us with this question: "Will the kingdom of God be any bigger today because you are operational in it?"

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: If you're a Christian, one who confesses Jesus to be the Christ or Messiah (they have the same meaning), do you seek to live under the kingdom of God, doing the work of God's kingdom? In your daily life, are you available to God to bring healing and wholeness to the people in your life? Are you willing to share the good news of God's kingdom in word and deed?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, with Christians everywhere, I proclaim you as the Messiah, the Christ. You are the one anointed by God to usher in the kingdom. You did this in your message and your ministry to people. And you did this, ultimately, by offering yourself as a sacrifice for Israel and for everyone. All praise be to you, Jesus, the Messiah!

Even as I believe that you came to inaugurate the kingdom of God, may I live today under this kingdom. May I offer myself fully to God, my King. May I serve him throughout this day no matter where I might be. Let the power of God be present in me, so that people might experience the wholeness of the kingdom.

Lord Jesus, though you are the unique Messiah, may I join you in your messianic work today. To you be all the glory! Amen.