Reflections for the Week of Sunday, September 16, 2018 Seventeenth after Pentecost

Gospel: Mark 8. 27-38. Jesus asks the question that we all must answer, “Who do you say that I am? Peter said, “You are the Messiah.” And Jesus began to teach them that He must undergo great suffering, be rejected by the elders et al and be killed, and after three days rise again. He then called the crowd together with His disciples and said, “If anyone wants to be My follower, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”

Jesus of Nazareth  was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is the union of two natures, one human (Jesus of Nazareth), the other the divine (the Word, God the Son). He was sent from the Father in the ‘fulness of time’ to restore fallen man to his true heritage as a child of God to enjoy an eternal loving relationship with God. This had been God’s will from the beginning, but it  went off the rails when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and caused the entire human race to be estranged from Him. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law (Mt 5.17) in order that believers can be redeemed from the bondage of sin and death and the law itself to which they had fallen victim. Jesus’ divine nature in the Christ was able to sanctify the fallen human nature of Jesus to which it was bound in the Person of Christ. Christ was able to live a sinless life in spite of His fallen human nature in loving obedience to the Father through the power of His divine nature and the Holy Spirit of which He had received a full measure. In this process His human nature was sanctified along with that of believers in Him. The conflict of the people of Israel against Christ grew during His public ministry as the sin of the people of Israel reached a climax in the confrontation with Jesus. The leaders of the Jewish people and the Roman state, Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate cynically condemned Jesus to die even though they knew He was innocent  thus fulfilling God’s plan to condemn the satan, sin, and death in the flesh of His Son on the cross. This condemnation of sin in the flesh of God’s Son caused atonement, redemption, justification, remission of sins, and salvation for those who came to believe in Jesus the Messiah. Messiah is the Hebrew word for ‘anointed’ and refers to king, prophet, and priest, the three offices that were anointed and that Jesus filled. As King He inaugurated the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. As priest He offered Himself as a sin offering so that God’s justice could be satisfied by condemning evil. As prophet Jesus fulfilled the new covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 31.31-34 and Ezekiel 36 by the shedding of His blood. His victory over the satan and death were confirmed by the resurrection. Jesus rose from the grave in His renewed and resurrected body that was real in every sense but could vanish and pass through locked doors and foretells what believers may expect at the Last Day when the Lord returns. Forty days after the resurrection during which Jesus was on earth, He ascended to the right hand of God in His human form to rule as God intended from the days of Adam. Believers are commissioned while on earth to  cooperate in bringing in the kingdom God until the new age comes in full. Believers are a royal priesthood (Ex 19.6; Isa 61.6; 1 Pet 2.9; Rev 1.6) to shine the light of Christ the King into the world and reflect the praises of the creation back to Him.

Memory Verse: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the one and only Son of the Father… (John 1-4, 14).

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