As I prepare for the “What Jesus Said: The Red Letter Series,” I have been intensely studying the words of Jesus. The first study of the series is about what Jesus says about Jesus. There are more “red letters” than I first thought; it has been an awesome time of prayer and study. In Matthew 16, we read about Jesus asking the disciples who Jesus is. After spending weeks pouring myself over what Jesus said about Jesus, I found myself spending a lot of time on this passage that shares Peter’s thoughts.
Who did Peter say Jesus was? He answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter basically says that Jesus was the One sent by God, the Deliverer, and also that Jesus was the Son of God. Wow! He got it! Jesus said he was blessed. In understanding this, Peter was considered the rock. Yet reading further, we find Peter is called “Satan” for not grasping God’s divine plan. Eventually Peter gets it. Yes, it was after he denied Jesus three times. But he gets it. One day he grasps Who this Messiah, the Son of the living God truly is, and his life totally changes.
What do you say about Jesus? Who is Jesus to you? Because this says a lot about you and about your life. It is true—you do not define Who Jesus is. Your words do not make Him any different; your words don’t change Jesus. Even so, Who you think Jesus is changes you—it can be the difference of life and death, the difference to living bread or spiritual bankruptcy. Who you think Jesus is may decide who you follow, who you worship, and for who you live. Who you think Jesus is determines how you live your life and what matters most to you. Who you think Jesus is makes the difference of peace that is beyond understand, joy that is overwhelming and overflowing. Today, write down Who Jesus is to you. Is He your everything? Is He the Son of God? Is He the Son of Man? Is He the Messiah? Is He the Living Bread? Is He the Light of the world? Is He the Christ? Is He your Redeemer? Is He Lord of the Sabbath? Who is Jesus to you? Then take a step forward, studying His Word and praying each day, and allow Him to continue to reveal Himself to you in new and awesome ways. Then add to the “Who Jesus is” list. May you spend your life getting to know Jesus—it will be a life well-spent.
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-17 [NIV]
When you are at home somewhere, you are comfortable. You are safe. Home is considered a special place, your special place. It’s where you reside. It’s where you rest. It’s where you remain for a great deal of time.
Paul said for the word of Christ, the words spoken by Jesus, to have its home be in your heart and mind. This means the words of Christ would remain inside you, would be written on your heart, would dwell within you. This means these words would take up residence within you, and they would teach you and remind you and comfort you. They would linger about and be a part of you. As they are a part of you, these words that are inside would overflow and multiply in your life.
How can you let the words of Christ have a home in you? You have to read what He said. Many times what He said is written in red in the Bible. Read God’s Word. Read what He said. There are even books about what Jesus said. Steven Scott wrote a book called “The Greatest Words Every Spoken.” This book breaks down everything Jesus said by topic. Continue to read what He said and you will find these words soon at home in your heart. This allows for the Holy Spirit to remind you of His words. Watch what happens as you write these words on your heart.
“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.” – Colossians 3:16 [AMP]
The woman at the well appeared surprised to be approached by Jesus as she was a Samaritan and Jews did not have relations with Samaritans. As the longest documented conversation Jesus had with anyone continued, Jesus tore down barriers as she focused on division.
For Jesus to approach her was unseen of at this time, not only because she was a Samaritan. He was a rabbi and a rabbi would not speak to a woman in public. He was sinless and she was a sinner. Barriers and more barriers. As the conversation continued, the barriers can be seen again and again. She was focused on physical human limitations. She was focused on her physical needs, on what would make her life easier. When Jesus mentioned her living arrangements, rather than address the sin she switched the subject. She again put up a barrier. She addressed religion when Jesus addresses relationship.
Each of us have a choice to have a relationship with Jesus Christ or to focus on something or someone else. We can put up barriers again and again. Jesus still reaches across the barriers and invites us to do life with Him. Today evaluate your life and look for any barriers you might have that keep you from your walk with Jesus. Are you drowning in sin? Are you following God’s will? These items are barriers to your relationship with Jesus. Are you spending time each day in the Word? Do you pray daily? Do you listen to the Holy Spirit? Are you serving? Are you actively involved with a church? These items are bridges that bring you closer to Him. You can build up barriers or build up bridges. Choose life.
“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” – Colossians 1:19-23 [NASB]
Throughout history people attempted to complicate what God desired. Today you can read hundreds and thousands of books telling you what to do and how to act. You can get bogged down and burned out by service. You can become overwhelmed by not matching up to expectations.
But God isn’t asking for what the world continues to desire from you. Jesus said that “the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” BELIEVE in THE ONE He has sent. Believe in Jesus.
If you want to do the works of God, you need only believe in Jesus. That alone is what is required of you. Yes, this will bring you to serve the Lord. But it won’t be complicated—it won’t cause you to become overwhelmed. It will be a joyous outpouring from believing in the One God has sent us.
“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’” – John 6:29 [NLT]