As we continue our journey through Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written ‘letters from the heart.’ Each will be accompanied by corresponding relevant scripture verse(s), and linked to sources for further study. If you would like to join us on Columbia’s Lenten journey, please send us your ‘letter from the heart’ by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us continue our Lenten journey of repentance, meditation, and anticipation day-by-day, to its glorious culmination on Easter morning.
Today’s scripture reading is from the Gospel of Mark 8:27 and 9:1.
“But who do YOU say I am?”
“You are the Christ.”
Peter – the Rock of Christ’s Church, the one who always was bold in his statements, the one who always failed to live up to those statements.
As our children were growing up, one lesson I tried to reinforce was, “Saying and doing are two different things.” Saying that you brushed your teeth is a lot different than actually brushing your teeth!
Jesus then goes on to tell His disciples how His short ministry will be difficult, treacherous, dangerous, and in a short time, will result in His death and resurrection.
Peter didn’t want to hear the Bad News. The news that Jesus Christ, God among us, would only be here in flesh and blood for a short time was frightening. And who could blame Peter? If Jesus were leading our Sunday School classes and Bible Studies, we wouldn’t want him to leave us either! But His leaving us is how He becomes the Good News. The trials, the anguish, the insults, the injuries would all mean very little without the resurrection.
“Get behind me, Satan; for your ways are not of God’s, but of man’s.”
Then Jesus told Peter and His disciples: “If you really want to follow Me, you must change your lives…you must lose your life for My sake. Follow My actions, follow My steps, and you will save your life. If you are ashamed of Me and My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, I will be ashamed of you when you come to God.”
So have we learned anything from these direct and forthright words of Jesus? Saying that Jesus is the Christ is a lot different than actually living out lives as if He is. Giving up our wants and desires for His sake, not just in our Lenten disciplines, but in our lives. But how can we do that? “If you are ashamed of Me and My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, I will be ashamed of you when you come to God.” This tells me that reading and trying to understand His Word is how we can move our lives from “saying” to “doing.” And maybe we can understand how His ways are different from our ways.
Columbia, South Carolina
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If you enjoyed this Lenten meditation, you can find more at Sharon’s Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.