Christ at Work Through Us

MEMORY SELECTION: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” —I Peter 2:9

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 16:13-21; John 14:12-14; Matthew 28:18-20

WHEN Jesus and his disciples had been among the people for some time and many had heard his teachings and observed his miracles, he asked, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matt. 16:13) Some reported that the people thought he was Elias, and others, John the Baptist. But Jesus asked the question, “But whom say ye that I am?” (Matt. 16:15) And Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God.” (vs. 16) Then Jesus made a profound announcement that is the foundation of the Christian hope. “I say unto thee, That thou art Peter [petros—a piece of rock], and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (vs. 18) “Rock,” in the Scriptures, is a symbol of truth. The massive truth upon which Jesus was to build his church was the fact that he was the Messiah, the Son of the living God; that he came forth with authority and power from God to speak the words of God and to gather his church, his body, the anointed, who, together with the Head, Christ Jesus, will be the greater Messiah, the Mediator of the New Covenant during the coming kingdom.

Jesus, as the anointed of God, was given a commission, a work to do while here on earth. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound: to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”—Isa. 61:1,2; Luke 4:17-21

Jesus, in addition to being the ransom price for Adam, was faithful in carrying out his commission of preaching the Gospel. His faithfulness in this brought opposition and persecution and, ultimately, his death on the cross. His disciples are admonished by him to follow in his steps. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) The word “deny” in the text has the meaning of renouncing one’s self, or, in consecration, fully accepting the Heavenly Father’s will for his own. The heavenly Father’s will for those who will walk in the footsteps of Jesus is that they lay their lives down in sacrifice as did Jesus. This is pictured by the cross, which in Jesus’ day was a symbol of suffering and death. The next verse states: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” The thought of the text is that those who are endeavoring to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and do not yield themselves in a sacrificial life will not gain immortality and be associated with Jesus in the kingdom. On the other hand, those who do will gain the prize.

The Apostle Paul, in II Corinthians 5:17-20, states: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. … Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” The point that this text is making is that Jesus at his first advent was an emissary from God who had begun the work of reconciling the world unto God but that since Christ’s death and resurrection this work has been turned over to the church. Paul says, “as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Then in verse 21 the apostle reminds us that Christ died for the very purpose of making this arrangement possible.

In II Corinthians 6:1, the apostle continues his line of reasoning, “We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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