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Mid-Week with Christ

June 12, 2020

Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

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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, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 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. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Prayer for the Day

O God Almighty, the Father of Your Christ, Your only begotten Son, give me a body undefiled, a heart pure, a mind watchful, an unerring knowledge, the influence of the Holy Spirit for the obtaining and assured enjoying of the truth, through Your Christ, by whom glory be to You, in the Holy Spirit, from age to endless age. Amen. (from The Apostolic Constitutions)
On this twelfth day of June we remember the great confession of the Christian church known as the Nicene Creed. This short creed has a central place in the Church's worship around the world, and is the most universally recognized statement of the Christian faith.

The creed itself was drafted over several decades. Its first two parts were agreed to in 325 AD at the council of Nicea, from which the creed gets its name. Its last article confessing the Holy Spirit was added at a council in Constantinople in 381 AD. 

The Nicene Creed, and the Apostles' and Athanasian Creeds as well, are not attempts to explain God's nature. We shouldn't view the creeds as anatomy textbooks for the Divine. The creeds are better viewed as part hymn and part primer. They gives us words of praise that are faithful to what God has revealed to us about himself through Jesus in the Scriptures. They are words we can only truly believe and confess by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. 

In the middle of Matthew's Gospel we find Jesus asking the disciples the most important question to ever be asked in history, from a Christian point of view: "Who do you say that I am?" For two thousand years Christians, in their sharing of the faith, in their prayers and worship, and in their creeds, have been striving to proclaim faithfully an answer to that question. Today we give thanks to the Christians who gathered in Nicea and Constantinople to put their words back to God in writing. We praise Jesus Christ, the Father's only Son, through whom all things were created, who for our salvation died under Pontius Pilate, and will come again to bring us to himself in the life of the world to come.
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