Before you begin: view Matthew 16 Series | Part One
In Matthew 16:13-20, the disciples are telling Jesus all about what everyone is saying about the Son of Man, and they list some names of great men and prophets. Some people say the Son of Man is "John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Then Jesus asks the disciples who they say He is. Simon Peter says, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 16:17)
What I Took Away:
There are many people that require proof for everything.
Some of them are intellectuals, and they may tend to rely on their own knowledge and resources for everything (pride is a huge factor, here) -- and perhaps some people think that requiring proof makes them an intellectual. Maybe some have been hurt or lied to in the past, which damaged their perception of faith.
I haven't been challenged many times about whether or not God actually exists, and I think by now everyone agrees that Jesus existed as a man, but I do face opposition, especially in my position as a missionary in an international and multi-faithed school, as to who Jesus was and is beyond his manhood, and I just need to say this: I have experienced the movement of the Holy Spirit, and my "proof" of who Jesus was and is is in my heart.
I love The Message's paraphrasal of Matthew 16:17: "Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am." The Voice translation is also great: "Simon, son of Jonah, your knowledge is a mark of blessing. For you didn’t learn this truth from your friends or from teachers or from sages you’ve met on the way. You learned it from My Father in heaven."
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Maybe you're having trouble with your faith. Maybe you're waiting for thunder to crash and for lightning to strike -- you're waiting for a great big miracle from God. You want God to move a mountain for you, to part the sea for you; you want to see manna raining from the sky; you want a burning bush to start up a conversation with you. You just want Him to prove who He is.
He can do all of these things, sure, but He wants you to come to Him by faith. He wants you to choose Him and to experience Him. Knowledge is just knowledge, after all. Wisdom is being convicted of the truth, and God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are The Truth.
Listen: Help Me Believe by Nichole Nordeman
Take me back to the time When I was maybe eight or nine and I believed When Jesus walked on waters blue And if He helped me, I could too if I believed
Before rationale, analysis And systematic thinking Robbed me of a sweet simplicity When wonders and when mysteries Were far less often silly dreams And childhood fantasies
Help me believe 'Cause I don't want to miss any miracles Maybe I'd see much better by closing my eyes And I would shed this grownup skin I'm in To touch an angel's wing and I would be free Help me believe
When mustard seeds made mountains move A burning bush that spoke for You was good enough When manna fell from heavens high Just because You told the sky to open up
Am I too wise to recognize That everything uncertain Is certainly a possibility When logic fails my reasoning And science crushes underneath The weight of all that is unseen
Help me believe 'Cause I don't want to miss any miracles Maybe I'd see much better by closing my eyes And I would shed this grownup skin I'm in To touch an angel's wing and I would be free, free, free Help me believe
When someone else's education Plays upon my reservations I'm the first to cave, I'm the first to bleed If I abandon all that seeks To make my faith informed and chic Could You, would You show Yourself to me?
Help me believe 'Cause I don't want to miss any miracles Maybe I'd see much better by closing my eyes And I would shed this grownup skin I'm in To touch one of their wings and I would be free And I would be free and I would be free
Help me believe, help me believe Could You, would You show Yourself to me? Could You, would You show Yourself to me? Help me believe