January 13: Avoiding the Unavoidable
Genesis 24; Matthew 16–17; Ecclesiastes 5:8–11
It’s common to put people in our lives on hold, even if we love them, until something forces us to pay attention. Forgetting those who are closest to us is a frightening thought. Peter, Jesus’ disciple, likely realized that people were making a similar mistake in their relationship with Jesus.
In the district of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt 16:13–14). At first, they respond with the expected: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, and the prophets—suggesting that Jesus is an esteemed and powerful prophet, but not more. Then Jesus asks the are-you-paying-attention question: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15).
Simon Peter understood this, blurting out, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matt 16:16). Jesus asked about the Son of Man, emphasizing His humanity; Peter responds by emphasizing both His status as the anointed one of God (the Christ) and His divinity, as God’s Son (which also has kingly implications).
Peter does all this in Caesarea Philippi, a place full of altars and idols to other deities. Caesar was worshiped and celebrated as god’s son there. Peter, surrounded by people worshiping the king of the known world, calls Jesus king.
Jesus responds by affirming that God has revealed this to Peter. And He states that following Him means completely giving up ourselves and being willing to suffer like Christ (Matt 16:24–25).
Just like a relationship with a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend, if we think Jesus is less than He is, we will inevitably misunderstand Him. And if we understand our relationship with Him to be anything less than life altering, we treat Him like someone we have fallen out of love with. The one who died for our sins wants and deserves so much more.
Who are you not noticing in your life that you should be? What parts of your relationship with Christ are you overlooking?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Now Abraham was old, and stricken in years, and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. Therefore Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, which had the rule over all that he had, Put now thine hand under my thigh, And I will make thee swear by the Lord God of the heaven, and God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I dwell; But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my so Isaac. And the servant said to him, What if the woman willnot come with me to this land? shall I bring thy son again unto the landfrom whence thou comest? To whom Abraham answered, Beware that thou bring not my son thither again. The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house, and from the land where I was born, and that spake unto me, and that swear unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land, he shall send his Angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. Nevertheless if the woman will not follow the, then shalt thou be discharged of this mine oath: only bring not my son thither again. Then the servant put his and undr th thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him for this matter. So the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed: (for he had all his master’s good in his hand:) and so he arose, and went to Aram Naharaim, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to lie down without the city by a well of water, at eventide about the time that the women come out to draw water. And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I beseech thee, send me good speed this day, and show mercy unto my master Abraham. Lo, I stand by the well of water while the men’s daughters ofthis city come out to draw water. Grant therefore that the maid, to whom I say: Bow down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink: if she say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: may be she that thou hast ordained for thy servant Isaac: and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed mercy on my master. And now yet he had left speaking, behold, Rebekah came out, the daughter of Behuel, son of Milcah the wife of Nahor Abraham’s brother, and her Pitcher upon her shoulder. (And the maid was very fair to look upon, a virgin and unknown of man) and he went down to the well, and filled her pitcher and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me drink, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher. And she said, Drink sir: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand and gave him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also until they have drunken enough. And she poured out her pitcher into the trough speedily, and ran again unto the well to draw water and she drew for all his camels. So the man wondered at her, and held his peace, to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. And when the camels had left drinking, the man took a golden abillement of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands, of ten shekels weight of gold: And he said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee, Is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in? Then she said to him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah whom she bare unto Nahor. Moreover she said unto him, We have litter also and provender enough, and room to lodge in. And the man bowed himself and worshipped the Lord, And said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, which hath not withdrawn his mercy and his truth from my master: for when I was in the way, the Lord brought me to my master’s brethren’s house. And the maid ran and told them of her mother’s hose according to these words. Now Rebekah had a brother called Laban, and Laban ran unto the m an to the well. For when he had seen the earrings and bracelets in his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words ofRebekah his sister, saying, Thus said the man unto me, then he went to the man, and lo, he stood by the camesl at the well. And he said, Come in thou blessed of the Lord: wherefore standest thou without, seeing I have prepared the house, and room for the camels? Then the man came into the hose, and he unsaddled the camels, and brough litter and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. Afterward the meat was set before him: but he said, I will not eat, until I have said my message. And he said: Speak on Then he said, I am Abraham’s servant, And rthe Lord hath blessed my maste wonderfully, that he is become great: for he hath given him sheep, and beeves, and silver, and gold, and men servants and maid servants, and camels, and asses. And Sarah my master’s wife hath borne a son to my master, when she was old, and unto him hath he given alt hat he hath. Now my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my father’s house and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son. Then I said unto my master, What if the woman will not follow me? Who answered me, The Lord, before who I walk, will send his Angel with thee, and prosper thy journey, and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred and my father’s house. Then shalt thou be discharged of mine oath, when thou comest to my kindred: and if they give theee not one, thou shalt be free from mine oath. So I came this day to the well, and said, O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if thou now prosper my journey which I go, Behold, I stand by the well of water when a virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink. And she said to me, Drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels, let her be the wife, which the Lord hat prepared for thy master’s son. And before I had made an end of speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth and her pitcher on her shoulder, and she went down to the well, and drew water. Then I said unto her, Give me drink, I pray thee. And she made hast,e and took down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also. So I drank, and she gave the camels drink also. Then I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she answered, The daughter of Bethuel Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him. Then I put the abillement upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands: And I bowed down and worhipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had brought me the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son. Now therefore, if ye will deal mercifully and trully with my master, tell me: and if not, tellme, that I may turn me to the right hand or to the left. Then answered Laban and Bethuel, and said, This thing is proceeded of the Lord: we cannot therefore say unto thee, neither evil nor good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her and go, that she may be thy master’s son’s wife, even as the Lord hath said. And when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself toward the earth unto the Lord. Then the servant took forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave to Rebekah: also unto her brother and to her mother he gave gifts. Afterward tehy did eat and drink, both he, and the men that were with him, and tarried all night, and when they rose upin the morning, he said, Let me depart unto my master. Then her brother and her mother answered, Let the maid abide with us, at the least ten days: then shall she go. But he said unto them, Hinder you me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my journey: send me away, that I may go to my master. Then tehy said, We will call the maid, and ask her consent. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her: Wilt thou go with this man? And she answered, I will go. So they let Rebekah their sister go, and her nurse, with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, grow into thousand thousdand’s, and thy seed possess the gate of his enemies. Then Rebekah arose, and her maids, and rode upon the camels, and followed the man, and the servant took Rebekah and departed. Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, (for he dwelt in the South country.) And Isaac went out to pray in the field toward the evening: who lift up his eyes and looked, and behold, the camels came. Also Rebekah lift up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted down from the camel. (For she had said to the servant, Who is yonder man, that cometh in the field to meet us? and the servant had sait, It is my master) So she took a veil, and covered her. And the servant told Isaac all things, that he had done. Afterward Isaac brought her into the tent, of Sarah his mother, and he took Rebekah, and she was his wife, and he loved her: So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. Genesis 24
- Then came the Pharisees and Sadducees, and did tempt him, desiring him to show them a sign from heaven. But he answered, and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, Fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning, ye say, Today shall be a tempest: for the sky is red and lowering, O hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, and can ye not discernthe signs of the times? The wicked generation, and adulterous seeketh a sign, but there shall no sign be given it, but that sign of the Prophet Jonah: so he left them, and departed. And when his disciples were come tothe other side, they had forgotten to take bread with them. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have brought no bread. But Jesus knowing it, said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye thusamong yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves, when there were five thousand men, and how many baskets took ye up? Neither the seven loaves when there were four thousand men, and how many baskets took ye up? Why perceive ye not that I said not unto you concerning bread, that ye shoud beware of the leave of the Pharisees and Sadducees? Then understood they that he had not said that they should beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees, and Sadducees. Now when Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the son of man, am? And they said, Some say, John Baptist: and some, Elijah: and others, Jeremiah, or one of the Prophets. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Then Simon Peter answered, adn said, Thou art that Christ, the son of the living God. And Jesus answered, and sait to him, Blessed art thou, Simon, the son of Jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build y Church: and the gates of hel shall not overcome it.And I will give unt othee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. Then he charged his disciples, that they should tell no man that he was Jesus that Christ. From that time forth Jesus began to show unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the Elders, and of the high Priests, and Scribes, and be slain and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, Master, pity thyself: this shall not be unto thee. Then he turned back, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me, because thou understandest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men. Jesus then said to his disciples, If any man will follow me, let him forsake hiself: and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and shosoever shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what shall it profit a man though he should win the whole world, if he lose his own soul? or what shall a man give for recompense of his soul? For the son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his Angels, and then shall he give to every man according to his deeds. Verily I say unto you, there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the Son of man come in his kingdom. And after six days, Jesus took Peter and James, and John his brother, and broght them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did sine as the Sun, and his clothes wer as white as the light. And behold, there appeared unto them Moses, and Elijah, talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud shadowed them: and behold, there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is that my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear him. And when the disciples heard that, they fell on their faces, and were sore afraid. The nJesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Show the vision to no man, until the Son of man rise again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the Scribes that Elijah must first come? And Jesus answered, and said unto them, Certainly Elijah must first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they would: likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples perceived that he spake unto them of John Baptist. And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, and fell down at his feet, And said, Master, have pity on my son: for he is lunatic, and is sore vexed: for oft times he falleth into the fire, and oft times into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not heal him. Then Jesus answered, and said, O generation faithless, and crooked, how long now shall I be with you! how long now shall I suffer you! bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil, and he went out of him: and the child was healed at that hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as much as is a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove: and noting shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out, but by prayer and fasting. And they being in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of men. And they shall kill him, but the third day shall he rise again: and they were very sorry. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received poll money, came to Peter, and said, Doth not your Master pay poll money? He said, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take tribute, or poll money? of their children, or of strangers? Peter said unto him, Of strangers, Then said Jesus unto him, Then are the children free. Nevertheless, lest we should offend them: go to the sea, and cast in an angle, and take the first fish that cometh up, and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt finda piece of twenty pence: that take, and give it unto them for me and thee. Matthew 16–17
- And the abundance of the earth is over all: the king also consisteth by the field that is tilled, He that loveth silver, shall not be satisfied with silver, and he that loveth riches, shall be without the fruit thereof: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good cometh to the owners thereof, but the beholding thereof with their eyes? The sheep of him that travaileth, is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the satiety of the rich will not suffer him to stop. Ecclesiastes 5:8–11