SATURDAY (3/13/21)

  • Read Matthew 16:13-28

My name is Amy Houghtaling, otherwise known as Josephine’s mom.
My husband Mike and I have been married six years and adopted
Josephine as an embryo. We lead the Beacon Home Group (which is
one of the only ones NOT meeting in the Beacon right now…oops). Mike
is the chaplain at Hope Ministries and I worked there until Josephine
was born in Feb. 2019.

Mike and I were both older when we got married–almost 40. In regards
to that long dry season before marriage, I often think about a line from
a Rich Mullins song, ‘It’s ok to be lonely as long as you’re free.’ My single
years were lonely, but they were full of adventure. At one point I found
myself living in Jordan for a couple of months and decided to hop on
over to Israel for a week with another American girl I’d met there. A
cousin of mine happened to be in the country at the same time and I
hitched a ride on her tour bus the day they went to Caesarea Philipi.
This region was known for its temples in Jesus’ time – one to the Roman
god, Pan, another to Caesar Augustus (a human worshiped as a god),
and others. It’s no coincidence Matthew makes sure to include location
name in his account.

Even as Peter was making his confession, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of
the living God,’ pilgrims were streaming in to worship at these temples.

Today, the pilgrims there may have never heard of Pan or Caesar
Augustus. They are only interested in Jesus. ‘…On this Rock I will build
my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.’ Pan, Augustus
and others have come and gone, but the faith of Peter and the Church
he built remain, and the gates of Hades will never overpower it.

Consider and reflect on the following questions:

  • The disciples had been following Jesus for a while at this point. Why do you think Jesus had not told them He was the Christ? Why did He ask them what others thought before asking what they thought? Why did He ask them and not simply tell them?
  • What attitude should we have towards ourselves and others knowing that this knowledge is not revealed to us by flesh and blood but by God the Father?
  • Why do you think Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ? How does this contrast with His commands in Matt 28:19 and Acts 1:8?
  • How do vs. 24 & 25 contrast with our American sense of rights? How might our American expectations be similar to expectations Peter held that inspired him to rebuke Jesus?