Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Welcome to Day 269 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Ezra 4:4, “Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid… (to go on building.)”
21 [From King Artaxerxes] “Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order.”
Psalm 113:2, “Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”
Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
Luke 9:18, “Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” 19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.'”
Two observations… One very practical that ties in to yesterday’s reading from Ezra… and how their own people responded to the laying of the foundation of the temple. Today, opposition comes from the outside, too!
And, Peter’s amazing confession and recognition that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah).
I think I made enough of a point yesterday about how people see things differently, even when something good is happening. It’s hard enough to have outside opposition, but when opposition comes from within, makes life even more difficult… doesn’t it?
Then we have Peter’s confession and recognition of Jesus being the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world…
Peter was just a common guy… a fisherman. Not highly educated like the Pharisees, Sadducees or Teachers of the Law. Or even like Paul, one of the most educated men of his day. He referred to himself as a Pharisee… “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee.”
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme.”
As Paul went on making his defense and giving his testimony of how he came to faith in Christ, King Agrippa interrupted him and said, “Your great learning is driving you insane!”
But Peter was just a fisherman… who saw too much. Knew too much. Knew enough to know about the Messiah and how to recognize him.
Many people today still reject Christ. Who he was and is…
The Christ. The Messiah. The Savior of the world.
I am so thankful that at a young age I recognized who Jesus was. Never underestimate the faith of a child… It’s pure… simple.
As was Peter’s.
Even then, Peter denied Jesus out of fear for his life…
But that didn’t stop him. Judas betrayed Jesus and hung himself. Peter denied Jesus, yet went on to preach on the day of Pentecost to thousands of people. Three thousand of them became believers in Christ.
Peter, a simple guy… a fisherman who became a fisher of men. Then, just few chapters later…
Acts 4:5, “The rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them…”
Made a powerful statement…
12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
And the result?
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that
they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Never underestimate the simplicity of that statement and verse… “They took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Paul had his own encounter with Jesus… one on one on the road to Damascus… that led him to the conclusion that Jesus was the Christ.
Each one of us must come to our own conclusion…
All those around us must do the same.
Thank you Lord that you are not playing hide and seek with us… but you are right here with us, revealing yourself!