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Seeing Jesus

Daily Devotional • June 13

A Reading from Matthew 16:13-20

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist but others Elijah and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Meditation

There is a prominent stained glass window in Christ Church, Frederica that depicts Jesus standing in the middle with two figures beside him and one knelt in front of him. The only indication of what scene this window is intended to illustrate is a small inscription on the bottom of the window, saying, “Σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος.” I remember seeing this window as a first-year Greek student, ready and willing to show off my skills. So I translated it. “You are the Christ, the son of God while living.” 

Now that’s not a terrible translation (neither is it a particularly good one), but the presence of untranslated Greek in a church window anticipates Jesus’s answer to Peter: to confess Christ, knowledge must be revealed, not intuited. 

How proud I was that I — as far as I knew — I was the only person in church that day who, because of my lear-long, arduous labor memorizing vocabulary and verb paradigms, could translate this simple phrase. The others in church that day were beholden to a power outside themselves to tell them what was true. They understood the Gospel, while I walked away sad with my many possessions. 

“We believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,” not because we are wise, but because the gracious Spirit revealed it, because — with God’s help — we see Jesus as he is.

Chase Benefiel is a friend, Tennesseean, preacher, and student (in that order) currently finishing his M.Div. at Duke Divinity School.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:

St. Martin’s by the Lake Episcopal Church, Minnetonka Beach, MinnesotaThe Diocese of Fond du Lac – The Episcopal Church
The Diocese of Fredericton – The Anglican Church of Canada

DAILY DEVOTIONAL

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