My fellow minister friends like to poke fun at this Presbyterian – how many rules we have, doing things “decently and in order,” blah, blah. I shake my head. I love our way of doing things! One time it was a Baptist minister friend who got his hands on my copy of the Book of Confessions. “You don’t actually believe all this stuff do you?”
Of course I believe in confessions! The Bible is full of them!
Today’s passage in Matthew contains one of the first and most powerful confessions in the Christian tradition. “‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’”
And in many ways, this is at the heart of each one of our confessions in the Book of Confessions. They boldly speak of who we are, what we believe, and what we declare to do. One of the most powerful ingredients about that is a confession of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
What does it mean to declare Jesus as the Messiah? For me it centers on trust. We are not going to invest our trust in a political system. We believe that Jesus is in charge of our lives. We believe that if this world is going to be saved from itself, the answer is not ourselves, or any social, political, or cultural solution. No, the answer is to look to Christ for our direction.
We are not going to invest our time and energy into building up the systems of this world, but God’s system. This is a major shift from American culture. I often chuckle when people refer to the US as a “Christian nation”. How is that now? I see a godless nation that loves its guns and money more than it loves God.
And in another respect, while we were founded on many Christian principles, that does not mean this is a theocracy or that we as a nation must subscribe to one particular religion. So I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that we are an anti-Christian country. We are just like any other country, made up of humans in their brokenness, struggling to find truth. We grab on to secular “truths” because they are tangible and understandable.
We as Christians must constantly struggle to see beyond culture to the kingdom of Christ, where the poor are the rich, and the meek shall inherit the earth. God’s ways are not our ways, and the Bible is sprinkled with regular reminders of that, Old and New Testaments.
And so we confess. We strive to put our trust and our support in that which is above and beyond this world. And Jesus says to us, “‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’”