Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, â€œWho do people say I am?â€
â€œWell,â€ they replied, â€œsome say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.â€
Then he asked them, â€œBut who do you say I am?â€
Peter replied, â€œYou are the Messiah.â€
But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.
Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. â€œGet away from me, Satan!â€ he said. â€œYou are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from Godâ€™s.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Mark 8:27-33 (NLT)
I am troubled by the choices we as Christians make for what we will stand up and be recognized as Christians.Â There are principles of Christ about which I must stand and not waver.Â Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.
Love God.Â No other idols or statues or priorities before Him and who He is.Â Love my neighbor.Â Jesus spoke of my neighbor in the story of the Good Samaritan as someone with whom I have contact, as the Samaritan did the man on the road.Â And love myself. I am His child. I am of worth. These are the standards that govern the principles for which I stand.
In my home state of Florida we will be going to the polls in a week. If I were to vote for those who proclaim to be â€œChristianâ€, then I would be voting for many who are running for office. Most nominees claim to be Christians. And yet most nominees spend time telling me why I should not vote for their opponent, calling them liars, felons, and liberals (because we all know there are no liberal Christians!).
What principle of God does this represent?Â How do I vote in a way that represents and honors God?
In the Scripture today from Markâ€™s gospel, Peter has just made the proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah! In Matthewâ€™s gospel (chapter 16), Jesus tells Peter that only the Father could have revealed that to Peter.Â Jesus is pleased with Peter and his open, public statement.Â But then when Jesus tells the disciples the truth of how He will appear weak and die in order to rise from the dead â€“ Peter rebukes Jesus for saying something out of his preconceived idea.Â Notice that Mark says that Jesus turns and looks at â€œhis disciplesâ€ and then rebukes Peter.Â Jesus knew that Peter was a leader and that his disbelief and off-track idea would pull the others off also.Â Jesus knew that He must bring the leader back online and not let the enemy have an opportunity to use this controversy of what the Messiah is and is not.
Is the enemy using the media to get us as Christians â€˜off lineâ€™ about for whom to vote?Â It is difficult to make an informed decision because it is difficult to find the truth in a campaign. To me it requires a great deal of prayer, asking God who knows my heart as well as the hearts of these candidates to reveal His wisdom and knowledge to me. Â How I speak of those who disagree with me, does change how Jesus will look upon me.Â He looks for an unconditional love in my heart while teaching me about His never-changing principles.Â It is in fact one of His principles: to love as He loves.
I want the Holy Spirit to keep my eyes on â€œcenter courtâ€ and not be distracted by a â€œ side gameâ€ being played by the flashy and loud enemy.Â I want to keep my eyes on Jesus, the Christ, and His will and plan.
May God bless all the candidates with the presence of His Holy Spirit, driving away the darkness until we are left on our knees, seeking only Him.