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September Note

From Pastor Mark

This is the year of Matthew in our Gospel readings for worship each week.  One of those readings coming up is from Matthew 16:21-28.  I invite you to read and ask yourself for a “price check.” 

Jesus is preparing his disciples for that which will come—his suffering, death, and resurrection. Often impetuous in his actions, Peter’s response indicates that he doesn’t understand God’s direction or Jesus’ actions to complete his mission as Messiah.

  • Do we see ourselves in Peter?
  • Have we too often responded randomly to a situation without looking to or listening for God’s leadership?

Peter’s response wasn’t evil; he spoke in love. However, if Jesus had not suffered and died, the resurrection would not have occurred. God’s Kingdom would not have been advanced.

Think of the grief in Jesus’ voice as he rebuked Peter. Just as Satan had tempted him in the desert, here was Peter wanting him to take the way of power. Do Jesus’ words remind Peter that the better way is to follow his leading? Do they remind us to listen for God’s leading before making decisions randomly? Do we grieve God when we make our decisions based on our world view rather than his?

Then Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that as he would suffer, so would they. Following him has a cost.

I am sure that through the years you have witnessed women and men who have paid a price for standing up for what they believed.

I sometimes wonder however if it is becoming less likely. We are living in times of great apathy.  A lot of people wonder what difference does it make for me to be part of a worshiping community?  Do our neighbors recognize or see anything in us that makes us a bit difference than what the world expect?  Beyond the fact that we went to church on Sunday, could they see a difference in our lives? Do we keep our faith so to ourselves that they weren’t even aware of it?

If there had been persecution in our land, would we have been worth persecuting? Would Jesus have recognized us as one of his followers?

Walking close with God should have a price. We must be recognized as Christians in order to be known as followers. And to be recognized, we must be listeners, in order that our random actions not be a hindrance to God’s purpose.

God’s Kingdom will grow on earth as in heaven; praise God that that we are invited each day to be a part in it.

As we begin another year of learning at SOTP ask for the grace to live our life closely connected to God’s Word.  What difference does that connection make for you and how are you living it out?

Pastor Mark

Email Pastor Mark:  pastormark@sotpmail.com