August 21

Matthew 17:16-20

“Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.” vs. 20

Much has been made of the so-called “Messianic Secret” that the gospel writers mention. Why would Jesus not want the disciples to tell anyone that he was the Messiah? Explanations abound and whole books have been written in support of various theories, but we really can’t know for sure. What we do know is that, when a person is identified as a messiah, expectations go through the roof. People begin to believe that this messiah person will have the answer to every problem and will provide for all their needs. Often the messiah will become the object of worship. Indeed, that’s what happened with Jesus. His disciples began to worship him–and perhaps, just perhaps, that’s not what Jesus wanted! Now that seems a strange idea to most of us. We’ve grown up worshipping Jesus. What could be wrong with that? And the answer is: there’s nothing wrong with worshipping Jesus–except when it becomes the focus of our faith! We are called by the Spirit of God, not to worship Jesus, but to be the presence of Jesus in our hurting and suffering world. Yes, the disciples fell down and worshipped Jesus, but immediately he instructed them to get off their knees and begin to walk in his ways. Believing in Jesus as Messiah is fine–but being the presence of the Messiah in daily living is what will bring healing to the world.

Thought for the Day: In what sense have I been called to be the Messiah?

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