Who is Jesus?

© Mark Deibert | dreamstime.com

The apostle Paul (Romans 12: 1-8) urges us, his brothers and sisters, to ’offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice’ , set apart and pleasing to
God, which was the intention of all Jewish sacrifices. Note that it’s our bodies that we are lay upon the altar for God, not our hearts or our minds.  Bodies are more important to God than we may think. To offer them up to God is our ‘true and proper worship’. Once that’s done, transformation can start through the renewing of our minds – our thoughts are gradually brought into ’sync’ with God’s will. Is Paul saying that there is little point trying to bring our thoughts or morality into line with his will until our bodies have
first been given to him? Paul call us to develop a sober estimation of our own abilities, and to recognise our need to work as a team. Christ’s church is a body, a living organism with many members all performing their different functions so that the body lives and grows.

Who is Jesus? In Matthew 16: 13-20 the Lord himself asks the question of his
disciples. People of his day had all sorts of views. Some mistook him for
John the Baptist (photos didn’t exist then!), others thought he was one of
the Old Testament prophets come back to life. Simon,  nicknamed ‘the Rock’,
ventures to reply that Jesus is the Messiah, God’s specially anointed king
come to set his people free. Jesus says Simon is blessed, for this
understanding could only have been revealed to him by God, not by human
reason. Simon Peter ‘Rock’ may have been the strongest personality of the
disciples, but he was also just one of them. When Jesus says he will build
his church on him, ‘Rock’, and give him the keys of the Kingdom, he was not
setting up a papacy or apostolic succession so much as acknowledging his
leadership of the group of apostles who would be the founding members of
Jesus’ ‘church’. Jesus would delegate to his church as well as to Peter the
authority to make decisions that would be binding and liberating both on
earth and in heaven.

-Philip Muston

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