If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Friday, July 3, 2009

No More Important Question

I recently re-read St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, in which he wrote: “In (Christ), you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise . . . ” (Ephesians 1:13).

Why do words impact people so differently? How can a passage like John 3:16 & 17 generate hope in the hearts of some, and mockery in others? Why does a promise like Matthew 11:28-30 draw some to Christ’s side, while those words push others away?

I don’t know.

But I do know this from personal experience – and watching it work in the lives of others: the Gospel of Christ changes hearts, heals broken lives, restores relationships, shatters addictions, washes sins . . . but only for those who believe the message.

The Lord Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Some said, John the Baptist, some, Elijah, others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Only Peter recognized who stood before him.

“You are the Messiah,” he said. “The Son of the living God.”

For two thousand years since then, Jesus has asked the same question – the answer to which will guide our emotions and passions, our philosophies and politics. It will determine what gives us courage and what causes fear. It will set our course on what we find amusing, and what breaks our heart. It will dictate how we live -- and especially how we die.

We will never be asked a more important question. And we can never give a more important answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”


Tamara said...

2Thess 1:7-9 Believing is part of it but to believe only and never obey is lost. It's more committment to believe and OBEY. There are many people who are told to believe but they aren't told to OBEY. The Israelites believed in God but they just couldn't stay obedient. RM

Richard Maffeo said...

Oh, you are SO correct. I was wrong to make the assumption that obedience would naturally follow (true) faith . . . as in the case of the disciples. However, times have certainly changed,and "faith" no longer carries the associated concept of obedience. Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:14).

Even more frightening, Jesus also said (Matthew 7:21-23): "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness."