Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19, 2012 … He Speaks, … But Do We BELIEVE?

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 293

Blogger’s Note: Please take a few minutes and go to this link to hear my friend, Clay Crosse, singing powerfully with Bob Carlisle and BeBe Winans, the song, I Will Follow ChristSee this video on You Tube [linked here], which will prepare your heart, as it did mine, to read the passages from my chronological reading assignment for today.

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Matthew, Chapter 16 To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Mark, Chapter 8 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: Matthew 16: 1-12; 13-20 : [NLT] … {The Pharisees and Sadducees were like political parties who believed in different religious doctrines; but in Jesus they found a common enemy; and they went on the attack TOGETHER early in Jesus’ ministry, ultimately pushing the Sanhedrin – the Jewish judicial council, for Jesus’ death. Use the link above … read/study Matthew 16: 1-12 where Jesus tells the Pharisees and Sadducees about using the sign of Jonah as the only miracle to tell them Who He was, which was Jesus’ prediction of being dead for three days and then raising from the dead. But the religious leaders didn’t have clue what He was saying. Then Jesus warned His disciples about the false teachings from the religious leaders, reminding them of when He fed the masses from just a few loaves and fishes. … Then in Matthew 13-20 read how Jesus interacts with Simon Peter, the impetuous, but faithful, disciple who reveals he is willing to follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere, believing Him to be The Messiah.}
Highlight Passages: Mark 8: 11-21; 27-31 : [NLT] … {Using the links above, you will see that Mark 8: 11-21 parallels the Matt. 16: 1-12 section very closely. … Then, in Mark 8: 27-31 there is a passage which mirrors Matt. 16: 13-20. I hope you take the time to read both parallel passages. }

Cross Reference Passages: John 3: 16 and Romans 10: 13 : [NKJV] …{You very likely know John 3: 16 by heart, don’t you? But today I focus on the “believes” in this familiar passage. It is the Greek term “pisteuo.” } “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who BELIEVES in him will not perish but have eternal life. …”  
{And that term, “pisteuo” for our translated English term, “believe,” is also found in Paul’s writing about what it takes to be saved in Romans 10: 9.}For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. … 

My Journal for Today: Well in reading through the parallel and synoptic passages from the Books of Matthew and Mark today, as you can see from the You Tube link above, I was reminded of a great song sung by three powerful Christian voices in modern Christian music today, singing what I read about today; and that is following Christ as Peter was described as doing in today’s passages. … And, …Peter’s faith was just as Jesus wanted all His disciples to be able to “BELIEVE” in Whom He (Jesus) claimed to be. Yes, Jesus wanted His disciples to be able to cast aside the beliefs and teachings of the Pharisees or Saducees, who were letting their man-made doctrines and religious traditions get in the way of their being able to see Jesus for Whom He really was.  

“BELIEVE” is the operant word here; and for many years of my life, I refused to follow Christ – or even look at Him in any way – because I wanted to see life and the world my own way – or the way the world wanted to be seen by me. Instead of my beliefs leading me, as Peter’s belief in Jesus led Him, to pursue Jesus and follow Him in faith, I let Satan, the world, and my flesh shape my beliefs – or lack thereof – in Christ. And instead of pursuing Christ, as is sung in the song to which I’ve linked you above, my life until I as 40 years old was more like Frank Sinatra singing his classic, My Way.

The Greek concept of “belief, believe, or believes” is the term “pisteuo”; and I’ve copied two familiar NT passages above where this concept can be found, especially relating to what it takes for one to be a pursuer of Jesus and to be saved for eternity by Him. But when we say “believe” in English, I’m afraid it doesn’t have the emotional impact that the Greek term, “pisteuo” has. The Greek term doesn’t just mean “believe” in the sense “agrees with intellectually,” as does the English term. No, … “pisteuo” carries the connotation of desperately clinging to some idea or following someone, risking all, including potentially life itself.

That was the type of belief that Peter exhibited in Matthew 16 and Mark 8 when Jesus asked Peter, “Who do they say I am?” Peter then impulsively and emotionally, and from his own personal point of view, blurted out, from his deeply-felt beliefs, “You are The Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Now, that’s “pisteuo!” And it was just the opposite of the lack of belief exhibited by the Pharisees and other Jews, following them, as Jesus confronted the world of His day. And even though Jesus did things that only God could do, the Pharisees could not - or rather, WOULD NOT - BELIEVE in Jesus as Peter did.

Years ago, in brokenness, I was given the opportunity to BELIEVE in Christ; and I came to have the “pisteuo” kind of trust, faith, and belief that it takes to be saved by Him; and now it is my “pisteuo” in Christ that is leading me to yield to His Spirit and be transformed into His image. Oh, like Peter, I can be weak at times; but also like Peter, I have allowed Jesus to restore me to be able to believe and follow Him.

And I pray that you have found the “pisteuo” kind of faith that declares, as the song says this morning, with a trusting heart, I Will Follow Christ!

My Prayer Today: … As Peter declared, which has been tested in my life, as it was Peter's, through disbelief, but was restored by You forever, Lord,…I declare, ...  “I will follow Christ!”  Amen

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