A Godly Relationship
By Benjamin H. Liles
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” ~ Matthew 16:15-16, New King James
One of my favorite bands of all times is the Christian group named Petra. No, they aren't named after the fabled rock city south of Israel, where Edom use to lie. Rather, the founder of the group chose the name Petra as it means "rock." How do you secure a house? Do you build it on sand or on a rock foundation? Jesus tells us, "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall" (Matthew 7:26, 27, New King James) in a parable about the wise and foolish builder.
What does this have to do with building a relationship with Jesus the Messiah? I believe it has everything to do with being in a relationship with Him. Look at his conversation with the disciples:
"When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:13, 14).
We have a lead into the question Jesus asks the disciples about who they believe He is. Peter is the voice of the group, more or less. But because of Peter's answer let's look at what Jesus tells him, "
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosened in heaven.”
Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ" (Matthew 16:17-20).
I honestly believe each one of us can and will have a relationship with the risen Lord, Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth. If you wonder why I keep saying "Messiah," it is simply because Christ is Greek and means "Messiah." The Hebrew word for Messiah is Maschiach. What does Messiah mean? The definition of Messiah is Anointed One. Why is it used to talk about Jesus? From where did He come from?
"In Judaism, Messiah (Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ, translit. māšîaḥ; Greek: χριστός, translit. khristós, lit. 'anointed, covered in oil') is a title for a savior and liberator of the Jewish people. The concept of messianism originated in Judaism, and in the Hebrew Bible, a messiah is a king or High Priest traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil" (Messiah in Judaism). And not only do we receive a herald of Jesus' ancestry from David (see Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38), we are told exactly how he is "anointed;" "After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him" (Matthew 3:16, Holman Christian Standard).
Because we are told over and over again how much the Bible forefathers of our faith exercised their relationship with God the Father, we can do the same even though we have access to Him through the Son. Those men of renown, which we hold dear, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they looked forward to the promise of the coming future King. Since Jesus of Nazareth, our Anointed Savior, was also born under the curse of the Law we no longer perish under the effects of the Mosaic Law.
Ever since His ascension into Heaven His Church has been His representative of Him since He promised He would come again. What did the angel say to the men who watched after Jesus departed? "Men of Galilee," they said, "Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11, Berean Study).
So we have a relationship with the One who gave His life for our sins. When He died at Calvary under the Law, this act fulfilled and finalized God's Old Covenant with Israel. It was a final act He had Abraham perform many years before. The lamb that was found and offered up in Isaac's place has been fulfilled in the Messiah Jesus. He gave His life as a ransom for many. And for this reason, it is why the Church still exists, until He calls for His bride to come home to Him.
Father, I know in my sin, which are many, I am unable to come before You. And yet in Your holiness, You set apart Your Son to atone for me. You did this so I can come before You. You did so in order I may behold Your Priest Jesus, my Savior. He isn't just Your Anointed or begotten. Jesus is the same as You. He did those things because He saw You doing them beforehand. He did Your will. As a result, since I am being conformed to Your likeness I can do Your will as well. It's not so much that I am doing Your commands, but it's Your Spirit in me that does: both in faith as well as in obedience. Thank You for the gift of Yourself into my life. Keep changing me from the inside of my heart, flowing outward to others in love. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.