Day 26 ~ Standing on the Rock

The gospel writer, Matthew, recorded a road-trip Jesus and his disciples took at the beginning of what would be the final two weeks they would spend together before the crucifixion. He led them far north, above the Sea of Galilee to a place called Caesarea Philippi. It was and still is a beautiful green garden spot with fast running water supplied by several sources, and one of the places we were privileged to experience on a recent trip to Israel. There used to be a powerful, underground spring that gushed up from the inside of a large cave at the bottom of a cliff and its depths were thought by those in ancient times to be bottomless. This was also a major site for idol worship and had been since the Canaanites built altars here to Baal. It was here that the first king of Israel (Jeroboam) led the northern kingdom of Israel into idolatry. And later, the Greeks and Romans built sanctuaries to many different pagan idols, but most specifically the god, Pan, who was believed to inhabit the cave which was also commonly called the Gates of Hades…..

You can still see the cutouts in the side of the mountain where idols were installed….it was a major site of worship, just none of it directed toward the God of Israel. It was also a place where truly terrible things took place in human attempts to worship and satisfy the desires of innumerable silent gods….

I knew before even setting foot in Israel that it was unlikely I would long remember the daily itinerary, historical dates and other facts that were so fascinating. But I felt confident that I would always remember how places made me feel. And as I walked around this absolutely beautiful area that was rich with history and a place where Jesus literally stood 2000 years ago, where he saw the same cave, noticed the same idol cutouts on the mountainside and heard the same rush of flowing water, what I felt more than anything was….emptiness. It was so beautiful, and I felt the glory of God’s creation, but I also felt all the past generations of people who had stood on these same stones, reaching out to appease gods that could not care nor take notice of them, let alone love them. It felt hopeless, somehow and sad that so much effort had been put into worshipping deities that had no capaticy to care for them in return….and it’s right here….in the middle of the false gods that Jesus sits with his disciples, far from home, knowing he had mere weeks left with them and has the following conversation:

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” 

Matthew 16:13-18

This was a major moment in Christian history….it’s the first time in scripture that Jesus is openly referred to as the Messiah. So why do you suppose Jesus travelled out of his way to this famously pagan sight for the very first declaration of him as the long-awaited one, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God?

I dont think it was just symbolic that God led Jesus and the disciples to this place that was dedicated to the worship of false gods to reveal him as the soon to be King of Kings and Lord over all…. I think it was a very deliberate spiritual declaration not only to be felt and heard in this world, but also by the principalities and powers whose reign of deceit and abuse was about to come crashing to an end. When Peter professed that Jesus was the Christ, it was the beginning of something new – Jesus was going to build his church….and nothing, not fear, or failure, or deceit, or dark powers, or human manipulation….not even the gates of hell would stand against it!

Today we are living out the reality that this same church is still alive and well because of the power of God through the sacrifice of Jesus all those years ago. And we now know more than ever, that the church never has nor will it ever be a location. The church is us, we who, along with Peter have made the declaration that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of the Living God. It’s good to know that in Him we have a solid foundation – and nothing will ever shake that!

Standing With You,

Shellie

https://discoverlentwithme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/01-My-Feet-Are-on-the-Rock.m4a

My Feet Are On The Rock

I Am They


I can see the clouds roll in
I can feel the wind as they try to shake me
I will not be moved
My feet are on the rock
I can feel the waters rise
I can hear the howling lies that haunt me
Fear won’t hold me now
My feet are on the rock
When I feel my hope about to break
I will cling to Your unchanging grace
Let the waters come and the earth give way
I’ll be dancing in the rain!
My feet are on the rock
I can see the morning light
I can feel the joy on the horizon
Here my faith is found
I stand on solid ground!
When I feel my hope about to break
I will cling to Your unchanging grace
Let the waters come and the earth give way
I’ll be dancing in the rain!
My feet are on the rock
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
So stomp your feet and clap your hands
Our feet are on the rock
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
So stomp your feet and clap your hands
Our feet are on the rock
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
So stomp your feet and clap your hands
Our feet are on the rock!
When I feel my hope about to break
I will cling to Your unchanging grace
Let the waters come and the earth give way
I’ll be dancing in the rain!
When I feel my hope about to break
I will cling to Your unchanging grace
Let the waters come and the earth give way
I’ll be dancing in the rain!
My feet are on the rock
My feet are on the rock
My feet are on the rock


Songwriters: Abbie Parker / Josh Bronleewe / Lindsey Sweat / Matthew Hein
My Feet Are On The Rock lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

About Shellie

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Day 26 ~ Standing on the Rock

  1. Gary jones says:

    Amen.

Leave a Reply