The Heart Response

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   It is a remarkable chapter from Mathew’s Gospel. It could be called the “roller coaster” chapter when it comes to the “ride” of at least one of the disciples.

   We are referring to Matthew 16.  We begin with Jesus’ question to His disciples:  “Who do people say the Son of Man is” (vs.13)?

   Jesus heard their, varied responses and then personalized the question: “Who do you say I am” (vs.15)? And this was Peter’s, accurate response: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (vs.16)

   Jesus praised Peter’s answer, implying that it was a confession of faith upon which His church would be built (vs.18a). Then Jesus gave the “ride” its first “roll” — He told His disciples of His coming Passion, death and resurrection (vs.21).

   Peter’s heart now shifted, as he reacted to Jesus’ prophecy — “Never, Lord! This will never happen to you” (vs.22)! Peter received a severe rebuke from his Lord tied to his human reasoning (vs.23).

   Then Jesus added yet another “roll” as He told His disciples— “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.”  (vss.24-25).

   Jesus was talking about total commitment…full allegiance to Him. There is no personal sacrifice too great. The heart response to Christ is to be 100%.

   We have uncovered a major challenge in our culture today. The majority of Christ’s followers have settled for comfort vs. commitment. Their hearts lack conviction. 

   In the church there may be a confession of Christ…but there is no “walk” beyond the “talk.” Membership has replaced discipleship…and passivity has replace passion. Satan is given far too much control. Christ’s Passion is ignored, as it calls for too high a heart response. 

   What is vital in our culture today is a revival of conviction and passion for Christ. What is needed is a fully-committed heart response for Christ!

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