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Day 36: I Will Build My Church

The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints

READ

Matthew 16:13–20

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

MEDITATE

It was the question of the first century. It is the question of the twenty-first century. And it’s been the question for every century in between. “Who do you say I am?”

There is a “right” answer, as in, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Then there is a revealed response. Anyone can mimic the “answer,” but only the Spirit can reveal the response. Paul says a similar thing to the Corinthian Church when he said, “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3).

It’s too easy to settle for the “right” Sunday school answer to this question. Are you responding to the question from a deeper place; a place where you know that you know that you know who Jesus is and who Jesus is to you?

Too often we seem willing to build our Church on right answers and checked boxes. Jesus builds his Church on true confessions, revealed responses. Against the cumulative power of such a response, the gates of Hades cannot prevail.

When we declare, “I believe in the holy catholic Church,” we take stock in the Church Jesus is building.

REFLECT

Without Christ there is discord between God and man and between man and man. Christ become the Mediator and made peace with God and among men. Without Christ we should not know God, we could not call upon him, nor come to him. But without Christ we also could not know our brother, nor could we come to him. The way is blocked by our own ego. Christ opened the way to God and our brother. Now Christians can live with one another in peace; they can become one. But they can continue to do so only by way of Jesus Christ, only in Christ Jesus are we one, only through Jesus Christ are we bound together. To eternity He remains one Mediator.

—From Life Together
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ASK

Express your questions, doubts, curiosities, and conundrums.

AFFIRM

Write any fresh affirmation stirring in your heart and mind from today.

Now affirm the Apostles’ Creed aloud:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord . . .