Call to Repentance

Back on the mountaintop where Jesus was transfigured (a video I would really like to see), He is joined by two Old Testament saints, Ole Mo and Elijah, who appear and talk with Jesus. Matthew 17:3~And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. (ESV) Both of these men also had tremendous experiences with God on a mountaintop: one on Mt Sinai in Exodus 20 and one on Mt Carmel in 1 Kings 18. Ole Mo represents the Law, Elijah represents the prophets, and Jesus fulfills them both. Matthew doesn’t tell us what they talk about, but Luke does. Listen to Luke 9:31~They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. (NIV)

The presence of these two Old Testament saints confirms Jesus is the promised Messiah. Therefore, Peter makes a grand offer in Matthew 17:4~Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (ESV) Here Peter is making a big mistake by not understanding the place of Christ, because this would imply Jesus, Elijah, and Ole Mo are all equal. They are not! Christ has secured our freedom because, He shed His blood, operating in the divinely ordained threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. 

Today, let’s look at Elijah who rep’s the prophets at the transfiguration of Matthew 17. As powerful as sin is, the blood of Christ is more powerful still. In Christ, the chains of our captivity have been broken, and the light of His grace has shone the way of freedom. As Prophet, Jesus pronounced an end to all our sin. In the Old Testament, the prophet was the mouthpiece of God to the people. In fact, the prophet often prefaced his words by saying, “Thus saith the Lord.” The prophet often gets a bad wrap but their role is not Negative Nelly rather wisdom’s call to repentance and realignment with God. The prophet pronounced the forgiveness and the pardon of God. Isaiah 40:1-2~ Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (ESV)

Understand that Jesus didn’t just come proclaiming the word, He is the Word. John 1:1~In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (ESV) Ole Mo is the representative for the law, God’s Word to live by, which is fulfilled in Jesus. Who is our High Priest, offers Himself as the sacrifice for all our sins. Hebrews 9:11~But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) (ESV). 

Matthew 1:21~She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (ESV) So, Jesus came to the world because of sin, humanity has a sin problem. And Jesus came proclaiming the truth, that we must repent. Mark 1:15~and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (ESV) Thus, Jesus proclaims freedom to the captives of sin and offers forgiveness. Colossians 1:14~in (Jesus) whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)

If you did not know this, take time to pray and ask God to forgive you of all your sins. This is something we do daily as we walk out our faith. It keeps us humble, on track, and ready for what the Lord has prepared for us to do, you know the good works He has planned. If you have prayed then I want you to consider how God is using you to tell others the good news about Jesus. Each one of us is to do a little forth-telling according to Matthew 28:19-20. So, who needs to hear about the love of God today? Who needs to know that they are not alone? Who needs a helping hand on behalf of the Lord? After you recognize the need, just go fill it.

The Power & The Glory

Jesus performs some of His most powerful miracles when He is alone with His disciples. We’ve seen Him walk on water and twice calm a storm on the high Seas. Through all the tests and life lessons, Christ Jesus is teaching them to utilize His power after He leaves. Every believer needs to know how to utilize Christ’s power. The Power and The Glory of God is found in and through Jesus Christ alone. If our desire to be used of God and utilize His power, then we must Comprehend that Jesus is all you need. (Matthew 17:1-13) 

The disciples are beginning to understand Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, so they are ready for the next level. Jesus has been telling them He must suffer and die. They now need to understand death will not be the end for Him. Therefore, Jesus says some of the disciples won’t experience death until they see Him coming in His kingdom Matthew 16:28~Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (ESV) Six days later, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a high mountain Matthew 17:1~Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; (ESV). Then, as the disciples watch, Matthew 17:2~and He was transfigured (μεταμορφόω metamorphoō) before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (ESV) 

(μεταμορφόω metamorphoō) in Greek is translated transfigured and gives us metamorphosis. It is how we describe the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. It refers to an outward change that comes from within. This is the same word translated transformed in Romans 12:2~Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV) JB Philips says don’t get squeezed, rather transform. We are to change from the inside out by renewing our minds. How do we do that? By reading the Bible, hearing it taught and spoken over our lives as it is preached. Then we can better apply it to the daily living of our lives. 

Where in life are you being squeezed? I bet that it is near an area of change that God wants for your life. Today, take time to unpack your pressure in prayer until you are empty. It is only when we are empty that we can then be filled by God. So, instead of feeling the sweet cathartic release of tension and pressure and leaving, stay to listen to what the Lord is speaking. Then just respond. Later when the pressure begins to mount. Repeat.

Meditations of the Heart

Did you know, we can all quickly move from the heights of spirituality, plummeting to the depths of calamity. Acting like angels at church, while some act like demons at home. Pete demonstrates this as He attempts to circumvent the way of the cross. It reminds us that we don’t always understand where Jesus is leading us. So Christ Jesus shares with us in Matthew 16:24~If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (ESV) Grasp that our cross is whatever makes it difficult for us to follow Jesus Christ. It may be a job, a fear, a relationship, even our pride. But, if we decide to follow Jesus Christ, by faith and walk out the scriptures we’ll have a cross to bear. In the Roman Empire, a convicted criminal was forced to carry his own cross through public streets to the place of execution as a sign of total submission to Roman rule. Christ Jesus takes this visual and says it is even more true for His followers.

Following Christ Jesus means we must totally submit giving up our selfish ambitions even our whole lives, to follow after Jesus Christ. Matthew 16:25~For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV) Born once, die twice, but if we are born again we will only die once. Did You know, on average in the U.S., every two minutes someone succeeds at suicide? Almost 50,000 people take their lives each year. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers, and these numbers continue to trend upwards. Why, Why does this happen in the most affluent society on earth? I submit to you the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ~ Life isn’t worth living until you have found something worth dying for. Saints, that something, is a somebody because Jesus Christ is worth dying for. Paul writes it this way in Philippians 1:21~For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (NIV) 

Living in Christ Jesus is to live on in the fruitful labor and service of our Lord. If our heart’s desire is to get the most out of life, then we must Get Connected so we can answer the Messiah’s question in Matthew 16:26~For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (ESV) Many people spend their lives trying to gain stuff, status, or standing. Some gain it all, but they’re the walking dead, spiritually lifeless, and one day, they’ll lose it all, but most tragic of all, spiritually bankrupt, they’ll lose their souls forever. Understand Jesus died on the cross to claim us as our Lord and He lives to lead us as Lord over all. 

Who are you following? The only way that we can truly follow after Jesus Christ is to make Him Lord over our whole life. Our spiritual life, our thought life, our secret life, our living breathing every day walking around life. That means we must get connected to Jesus who is our source. To do this we must realize who Jesus is and what He has done for us, even having the Father send us the Holy Spirit. Moreover, we must learn to visualize His purpose for our lives and who we fit into the plan that He has created for us. Then as we journey with Jesus, we must take time to analyze how we are following after our Lord. Romans 1:16~…the gospel…it is the power of God that brings salvation…(NIV) Why not take time today to examine how you are following Jesus. After all, it’s at the heart of our 21-Days.