Text: Isaiah 51:1-6, Matthew 16:13-20
“Who do you say I am?” Jesus challenged his friends to think of him as more than just a prophet—even more than the highly respected prophets like Elijah, John the Baptist, or Jeremiah. If we were asked the same question, we who have spent much time in church would probably call Jesus “the Son of God” without having to give it a hard thought. That’s the right answer, and the answer many of us believe. But do we live out that belief?
Isaiah responds to the ruin and destruction and trouble surrounding him with these prophetic words:
God hopes for us, too, to live like Eve and Adam did in Eden! Whether living with HIV, in grief, or in fear, God sees our pain and knows our pain—and longs for us to live fruitfully in the midst of that pain, in a bountiful garden, worth singing about.
Jesus, as Son of God, brings redemption—redemption that a prophet alone could not bring. We look for and work for a day when joy and gladness will completely fill all our dark places, all our embarrassing places, and all our shameful places. As channels of hope, we work for God’s kingdom to come here and now—on earth, as it is in heaven.
Unjustly condemned to death, baby Moses was redeemed. The God who saw the desperation of his mother and brought Moses back to her to allow her to feed and nurture him is the same God who sees our times of desperation, here and now. Moses’s mother still suffered; she was not able to live with her son throughout his whole childhood. When he no longer needed to be nursed, Moses was taken away and began to call a foreign woman his mother. But she knew that he survived, and despite the pain Moses and his mother felt, God worked through this pain to bring redemption to the people of Israel.
When we see the problems around us—HIV, discrimination, abuse, prejudice, fear, disrespect, the need to travel two days to get HIV treatment and oh, so many other things—do we really live as if Jesus is the “Son of God”? Do we see Jesus only as a source of good teachings, or as someone who also lives and intercedes for us and intimately knows our hopes and dreams and the things that get in their way?
To think about: How would it transform us if we moved from merely saying that Jesus is the Son of God and started believing this and living this out, through and through, each day?