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Christmas Devotional | Day 20

December 20, 2017

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 | What Child is This?

 

Key Takeaway
God opens our eyes to see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.
 
Today's Reading
Matthew 16:13-17
 
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesar­ea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 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."
 
Brief Reflection
The question Jesus asked His disciples in today's reading-"But who do you say that I am?"-is the same question that confronts us at Christmas. It's not the question most people think about this time of year, and yet it determines the eternal destiny of everyone on earth. Who was this child born to Mary and Joseph? Each of us must give an answer.
 
Jesus' disciples report hearing several wrong answers to this question. Jesus was thought to be John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets. Those answers are understandable, since Jesus was a prophet, but they are not sufficient. As Peter recognized, Jesus was (and is) "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Unless we see this, that Jesus is the Christ (God's Spirit-Anointed Deliverer) and the fully divine Son of God, then we will miss the point of Christmas. Worse yet, we will miss the salvation God freely offers us.
 
For those who have identified Jesus rightly, today's reading also reminds us we have no reason for pride or boasting. We did not believe the gospel based on our own wisdom or insight. As Jesus reminded Peter, such truths are graciously revealed by "my Father who is in heaven." The Father opens our eyes to see the true identity of this child who was born in Bethlehem. It is only by sovereign grace that we are saved.
 
Simple Summary
When Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He was, the disciples said John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Only Peter gave the right answer-Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God." However, Peter did not get this answer on his own or from another person. It was God the Father who opened Peter's heart to see Jesus rightly. God does this for us too, opening our eyes to see that Jesus is His Son and the Savior we need.
 
Discuss
If you asked the question "Who is Jesus?" to unbelievers you know, what answers would you expect? What truth in today's reading should cause us to depend on God as we share our faith and explain the truth of who Jesus is?
 
For Kids: Who is Jesus? (Among the various answers children may give, remind them that Jesus is the Savior and the Son of God.)
 
Pray
Thank God for opening your eyes to the truth of the gospel. Ask Him to do the same for unbelieving family members, friends, and co-workers.
 
For Further Reading
Read Acts 9:1-19 to see how God opened the eyes of Paul, a former persecutor of the church, to see Jesus rightly.
 
Memory Verse
Isaiah 53:5a
 
"But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities . . ."
 
Practical Response - Pray for the Persecuted
In addition to praying for the unreached, we should also remember to pray for brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing opposition for their faith. Pray that God would sustain their faith and empower their witness to Christ. For more on the persecution of Christians across the world, visit opendoorsusa.org.

Devotional credit: Radical, Inc.
 

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