Archive

Posts Tagged ‘foundation’

Matthew 16

October 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 16

In Matthew 16.13, Jesus takes his disciples to Caesarea Philippi, a town near the northern-most part of the land of Israel. Caesarea Philippi was home to a large cave which had a natural spring running out of the mouth of the cave. Local legend said that this cave was the entrance to the underworld, and a large temple was built there to worship Pagan gods.

The cave and temple were located at the base of a very large cliff. All kinds of evil acts occurred here. The worship consisted of prostitution and other kinds of sexual immorality. An unlikely place for a Jewish rabbi to bring his students.

The name of this terrible place was “The Gates of Hades.” Hades was the place of the dead in Greek mythology. They believed the gods went there for the winter. Worshippers would attempt to entice the gods to return in the spring with their sexual perversion.

All this helps us to understand Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16.18. Jesus asked his disciples who they believed he was. Peter pipes up “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” (verse 16). Peter realized that the idols that were carved into the rock were not alive; only the One True God—Jesus’ Father—was alive.

Jesus then replies to Peter in verse 18 by saying “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Jesus appears to be saying that he is going to build his church right here on this rock, the Gates of Hades. In other words, he will replace the evil of this temple with the righteousness of his church. This movement Jesus has started is going to change the world, and even the intense immorality of Caesarea Philippi won’t be able to slow it down.

The question to ask yourself is “Have I allowed Christ to build on my life?” Do you agree with Peter’s statement that Jesus “is the Christ, the Son of the Living God”? Have you allowed Christ to rid your life of immorality and anything that isn’t true? Or are you like the Gates of Hades: an entrance to death and a monument for immorality?

Examine yourself. Let Jesus take control and build upon your life.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, you are the Christ. You are the Son of the Living God. Remove from me anything that distracts me from you. Take away the sin in my life. I want you to build upon my life so that you can be glorified. Help me to take your glory everywhere I go, so that others may be freed from death. Amen.

 

“Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.” Psalm 86.8

 

Check out this home video of the Gates of Hades in Caesarea Philippi:

 

*A special thanks to Ray Vander Laan, whose incredible research and teaching is the background for today’s devotional. You can find out more about his teaching at http://www.followtherabbi.com. The source for today’s devotional can be found on the Faith Lessons video Volume Five: The Early Church.

Advertisements

Matthew 7

September 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 7

This is the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus wraps things up by saying that the person who does what Jesus says in this sermon is truly wise. They are like the man who builds his house on a solid foundation. That solid foundation keeps his house standing when the storms batter it.

But the person who doesn’t follow Jesus’ words is foolish. They have tried to build on a weak foundation. When it storms, there is nothing to keep their house standing firm. The house collapses.

So the question is: Are you going to be wise or foolish? You have heard Jesus’ words. Are you going to follow what he says, or will you ignore it? I invite you to continue in this joustormrney through the Gospels—to learn the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice. There is so much wisdom contained in these books. If you follow his teachings, your life will truly be blessed.

I want you to notice that Jesus doesn’t say that the storms don’t hit the wise man’s house. They still do. But because he has built on a solid foundation, his house doesn’t collapse in the storm.

Following Christ doesn’t mean you won’t face storms—times in your life which are difficult. But when you build your life on Christ and his teachings, your world won’t fall apart. He will give you wisdom to make wise decisions and give you strength to face tough times.

Don’t be a fool. Follow Jesus.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, give me wisdom. Life is hard, and sometimes I don’t know what to do. I realize that true wisdom only comes from you. I am going to build my foundation on you and your word. Give me strength to deal with life’s storms. I know you will always be with me. Thank you. Amen.

 

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1.5