The Lord has opened my ear.
For my part, I made no resistance,
neither did I turn away.
I offered my back to those who struck me,
my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;
I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.
The Lord comes to my help,
so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint;
I know I shall not be shamed.
My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?
Then let us go to court together.
Who thinks he has a case against me?
Let him approach me.
The Lord is coming to my help,
who will dare to condemn me?
Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty’, without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.
This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds – now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show.’
Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.’
“If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me”
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” We know what the disciples’ answers are. Have you asked yourself “Who is Jesus to me?”
Some would say, “He is The Living God”. Others may say “He is the Saviour.” But those aren’t really answers to this question though. Those are answers to “Who is Jesus?”
For me, Jesus is my Love, my Light, and my Guide.
But in my faith journey, how many times have I really put Jesus in the centre of my life as my Love? In the crossroads of life, or when a crisis hits, have I trusted Him as my lighthouse to navigate me through the choppy waters? Have I trusted Him to be my Guide, to lead me to where He wants me to go?
Truthfully, being a control freak, I plan my own desired outcome and when things don’t work out the way I planned, I start to bolt and panic. The ‘what if’ questions start to form in my little head. I see things with my own myopic vision and think with my own rational head.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.
Trusting in God and His Divine plan for us is not easy. Especially when we pray so hard and when God seems so distant. When we keep trying to listen out for Him, but He is silent. We have to pray for that grace, to be able to die to ourselves each day and let the Holy Spirit fill us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
His plans may not always come packaged in a little blue box with white ribbons. But we have to trust that He will lead us there, if we allow Him to. Sometimes God ‘tethers’ us instead of giving us what we want. If we only saw what God sees, we would understand the consequences of what we ask for. If only we understood, we would submit to His plans.
Recently, I have been listening to this song. The words go like this….
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise’
So my brothers and sisters, you may be going through some challenges in life now. Jesus may seem silent to your prayers. But what seems to be empty, dry and desolate now, may just be God holding us back, because His perfect plan takes time. And His timing is always perfect. Let us take up our crosses and follow Him.
Have faith. For the trials we face now, are blessings in disguise.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Lord, teach us to deny ourselves, to let go. You take over, Lord. Take our intellect, our hopes, our dreams, our liberty. We give it all to you. Give us the grace to trust You, knowing that Your plans are perfect. Let Your life be grown in us, and us in You.
Thanksgiving: Father, thank you for the crosses we carry, they bring us closer to You. In You we remain strong. Thank you for your cross, thank you for the pain and shame You endured for us. Thank you for Your love.