Jesus Appoints a Pope: Part I


When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi He asked His disciples, ”Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then He strictly ordered His disciples to tell no one that He was the Messiah.   Matt. 16:13-20  

  The conception of the Church. Jesus building and constructing the foundation of the apostles by His teaching. They, in turn, pass that teaching on to us through their teaching, preaching and writings.

 With Peter’s response to Jesus’ question, the foundation starts to take shape, as Jesus is the “capstone (cornerstone) of this foundation of the apostles and the prophets” (Eph. 2:20). “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” is a statement of faith by Peter, to which Jesus acknowledges, For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Heavenly Father”. But it is also a statement of faith for the Church, and for us as individuals. For one can not profess what one does not believe (by this I mean professing both in word and deed, Ja. 2:22). 

Then, Jesus does something radical; He changes Simon’s name. Within scripture, when God gives a new name to a person (or a people) it marks a turning point. Something big was happening, a new responsibility, role or identity. Simon’s name meant, ”he is heard,” and he certainly was on this day, wasn’t he? For God heard his heart in his profession, before it was spoken aloud. And Jesus blesses him and changes his name to Peter.

 Petros in Greek and Kepha in Aramaic. I mention both names, because they are both used in scripture, in fact, it is the only name Paul uses for Peter. It also [helps] clarify the misunderstanding Protestants have with this passage. Petros is the masculine form of the Greek word for “rock”; Petra is the feminine form.

That is why there are different words used in the sentence in the Greek text, “And so I say to you, you are Petros and upon this petra I will build my church. Surely Matthew wouldn’t refer to Peter as feminine, would he? Whereas in the Aramaic there is no masculine/feminine form of the word Kepha. It would read, “And so I say to you, you are Kepha and upon this kepha I will build my church.” This also happens to be the language that Jesus and the disciples spoke at the time. So in essence, Jesus is saying, “You are Rock and on you, I will build My church.” This means that Peter would be the leader of the twelve, after Jesus returned to the Father (John 21:15-19) and through Peter, Jesus Himself would build His church. And we see examples of this all through the New Testament; Peter being the spokesman for the twelve, often the central figure relating to Christ. He is always named first. He was also first to proclaim the Gospel, the first to heal others and the first to receive the revelation to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Mk. 8:29, Matt. 14:28-32, Lk. 6:12-16, Acts 2:14-40, Acts 3:6-7, Acts 10:9-48).

Jesus then promises that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it [church],  a promise that stands to this day. Jesus’ “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church” stood through the Roman persecutions, converted that pagan nation and was the sole Christian religion (that wasn’t heresy) for 1550+ years.

Easter Sunday


But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. I Corinthians 15:20

What a day! Resurrection Day!

May our love for the Triune God, be resurrected in our hearts this day.

May all glory, honor and praise be His.

Amen.

Holy Saturday


This had to be the longest and scariest day for the disciples. They had just witnessed the brutal murder of their Lord and Master.  Now, hid in the upper room, fearing for their own lives, all they could do is think….Think about all the things that had transpired in the last five days. What they could have done, should have done. Realizing their own denial and betrayal of the one, who just the night before, had called them ” friends.”

Maybe it’s time for us,to think on those things….

Good Friday


Today we remember the beatings, the death and the burial of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you Father for your Son. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice.Thank you Holy Spirit, for your leading us to yourself.

Amen.

Holy Thursday


Happy Holy Thursday to you! I hope you have plans to go to a worship service tonight.

Tonight is the night we remember:

1) The last supper.

2) Jesus washes the disciples feet.

3) His agony in Gethsemane.

4) His arrest.

5) His trial.

If you can’t make a service tonight, read your favorite Gospel account, or all the Gospel accounts of Holy Thursday, and remember, give thanks to Him who gave His all for you.

God said, “No.”


                                by Claudia Minden Weisz

I asked God to take away my pride, and God said “No.” He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said “No.” He said that her spirit was whole: her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience, and God said “No.” He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation, and it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness, and God said “No.” He said that He gives blessings; happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain, and God said “No.” He said, “Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.”

I asked God to make my spirit grow, and God said “No.” He said I must grow on my own, but He will prune me to make me fruitful.

I asked God whether He loves me, and God said, “Yes.” He said He gave His only Son to die for me, and I will be in heaven someday because I believe in Him.

I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me. And God said, “Now you have the idea.”

Lenten Reflection Week 7: Luke 23:46


Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Well, it’s finally here – the last week of Lent. The weeks of sacrifice, prayer, almsgiving and service have all lead us to this point; ready to celebrate our risen Lord. But before we move on, we have one last reflection. Jesus’ very last words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”.

By His words here, Jesus shows us He dies just as He lived – committing Himself to all His Father had for Him to do.

So this week, let us reflect on our lives. Are we committed to God in this same way? Does whatever we do, first and foremost, glorify God? Please, let us think deeply on this. This isn’t a subject to be taken lightly or just passed over. It is of utmost urgency!

Have you ever had this question run through your mind, “What’s wrong with the church today?” I would guess most everyone has and here on the inter-net, it gets asked thousands of times a day. So first let us recognize that yes, something is wrong with the church……and that something is me. In other words, “remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. ” (Matt. 7:5)

If you asked everyone in your church the question, What’s wrong with the church today, (specifically) you would get a different answer from each on how to fix it. Why? Because we were made for relationship! If we were to live a life glorifying God and living out the gospel of Jesus Christ doing what the Bible says to do, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with the church today. So something is missing….it’s my commitment to you!

So maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking, “What is wrong with me today?” Why am I not loving you as I love myself? Why haven’t I visited you when you were sick? or in prison? Have I helped you bear your burdens? Did I clothe you, feed you, shelter you in your time of need? Did I encourage you when you were discouraged? When you were down did I lift you up?

How can I blame on the “church” what I myself am unwilling to do?! The church is the Body of Christ and should be working together to build one another up – not just in the spiritual sense but in the everyday practical sense. Isn’t that what Jesus Himself did? Isn’t that what He calls us to do, meet people where they are at? Showing love, grace and mercy? Of course it is! So how committed to God are we? Answer truthfully.  Are we willing to commit ourselves to God the way Jesus was willing to? Are we willing to commit ourselves to each other as Jesus did?

Until we can honestly answer those questions with a yes, we will continue to ask the wrong question, “What’s wrong with the church today?

So in this last week of Lent, reflecting on Jesus’ words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” let us entrust not only our spirits to God the Father, but our earthly lives as well. Just like “His only begotten Son” did two thousand years ago, let us as adopted sons and daughters, continue in the way of our Brother and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be praise forever, amen.

Father, I abandon myself into Your hands; do with me what You will. Whatever You may do, I thank You: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only Your will be done in me, and in all Your creatures – I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into Your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to You with all the love of my heart, for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for You are my Father.       Charles de Foucauld

Amen.