Wednesday, December 31, 2008



Friends make life so much richer.

I just recently joined facebook (two big jumps into the twenty-first century in one week, amazing!), and I have found it unexpectedly fulfilling.  It’s fun to connect with people from all stages of my life.  In a way, it makes me feel more complete- as cheesy as that sounds!  It is good to be known.

As I read through the familiar passage of Matthew 4 on Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, I had a new thought.  Satan’s appearance does, of course, come at a time of great hunger for Jesus.  But it occurred to me, that the hunger and loneliness was not born of just that forty day fast.  It began in Christ’s physical separation from his Father and the heavenly realm.  He entered into a place where he was completely unknown.  And, although, I’m sure Mary and Joseph were dear and loving parents, I am also certain that they did not fully understand or know this child of theirs.

So, Satan enters the scene as an enemy.  But he was not always an enemy.  In fact, he is the first physical being that Jesus encounters in thirty years that truly understands the magnitude of who He is.  Satan, once called Lucifer, has also walked with the Father, known true joy, and experienced complete unity.  He, too, has inhabited heaven with all of her majestic beings and clouds of glory.  Lucifer was, once, part of the throng of worshipers.  He once joyfully knelt before the throne of the Heavenly Father and The Father's  precious and only Begotten Son. 

And now Satan stands before Jesus again.  And Jesus, the man, is for the first time in thirty years-fully known.

But- Satan has come to destroy, not to befriend.  And Jesus, although hungry, weak, and lonely, rejects this wicked invitation of fellowship.

So, this is the canvas on which Peter’s confession is painted.  Christ begins his ministry, and finds companions.  He travels with them, eats with them, and teaches them.  But it is difficult for them to comprehend who Jesus truly is.  Then, in Matthew 16, Jesus, turns to Peter.  I imagine his eyes locking with Peter’s as he asks his friend the simple, yet poignant question, “Who do you say I am?”  The question of, “Friend, do you truly know me.”  

And Peter, dear Peter, speaks the words that have power beyond his comprehension.  He says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus is known.  His father has revealed to his friend who He is, and Jesus is now known. 

Jesus replies, “You are blessed, Simon of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.  You did not learn this from any human being.  Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.  And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.  Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

Jesus’ response to Peter is, “Peter, you have told me who I am.  Now I will tell you who you are.  And, friend, I know who you are, even better than you know yourself.”

Friendship with Jesus.

He is a friend we can know, and he is a friend who knows us, even more intimately than we know ourselves.  He can look into our lives and give us a new name- our true name. He sees us and he sees all of the wonderful things that are within.

 Jesus, born as a child, offers us all an invitation.  He simply looks at us and asks, “Who do you say that I am?” 

1 comment:

  1. Julie thank you so much for your wisdom as always. You are a blessing, and I so miss you. On a slightly different note - I loved this post. That was a great revelation that I had not thought about, but it was so Biblical. The greatest prize is eternal fellowship with the Father, so how silly are we not to understand how much Jesus missed that. Keep bringing the great thoughts!