“CHRIST IS THE CONFESSION”
Saint Mark 8.27—9.1
The Confession of Saint Peter: 18 January Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson
In The Name + of Jesus: The Christ of God
Who do you say Jesus is? If all you can say is that He is God’s Son you’re saying nothing more than a damned Mormon. If you answer He’s the “Lord” but you do not believe the Biblical content of Kurios as understood by the Saints from Moses, Elias, and Esaias all the way to Paul and John, you’re nothing more than a Nestorian heretic. No wonder the Blessed Virgin Mary is denigrated by non-denominational Protestants. Only by knowing Who Jesus is can one appreciate who the Virgin is.
Philip of Macedon was a powerful warrior and brutal conqueror. He was the father of an even more famous world ruler Alexander…called “great.” The Roman Caesar, be it Octavian when Jesus was born, or Tiberias, when our Gospel occurred, were likewise dominating Lords…masters of all their controllable worlds. They died. They rotted. They join Judas in perdition. Who were they? Most people could care less. Most people only care about themselves…and maybe their “loved ones” so long as these family members and “retainers” sufficiently comport to their will and build up their egos. I am talking about you. You are little Caesars and you count yourselves “great”…at least compared to other men who don’t “fast” (i.e. don’t do what you want the way you want). Repent!
If you had to put before the throne of God this morning your own merits of loving, fearing and worshipping Him above all the things rather than what really occupies you during your waking hours…you too would be with Nero and Napoleon in hades! If you had to stand upon how you treat other people—the things you say about your fellow creatures—who are loved by God—your “chief of sinners” status would be confirmed in the very center of hell. Repent!
Hallelujah; you do not have to trust in your own works or person. Your Mediator and Savior is Jesus. And Who do you say Jesus is?
While the answer comes from Holy Scripture, the Bible is not your Redeemer. No “King James” or the enshrined-on-high Missoura “synod” ESV is nailed to a cross. While the Symbols, the Book of Concord 1580, is a compendium of Scriptural Confessions—“Here I stands”—it too is no Justifier. The Augustana bleeds for no sinner.
The Confession of Saint Peter’s is his confession to be sure; it came out of his mouth. This first Bishop of Rome, this “prince of the Apostles” the spokesman for the “12,” is to be rightly honored for his bold testimony. But the words were not of his work or will. The genesis and origin of the pronouncement was not from His faith but from God’s Grace. As Saint Matthew also records the event (Matthew being an eye-witness) Jesus replies to Simon Peter’s confession: “Blessed art thou Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” [Mt. 16.17]
The beautifully true introduction to Lutheran Worship reads: “Our Lord speaks and we listen. His Word bestows what it says. Faith that is born from what is heard acknowledges the gifts received with eager thankfulness and praise…saying back to Him what He has said to us, we repeat what is most true and sure.” [LW p. 6]
Peter is simply the polished mirror reflecting like a moon the Light of the Sun the Light of Life—He Who is The Confession. Jesus is The Confession of The Trinity—of God.
So then, Who is Jesus and Who do you say that Jesus is?
He is not John the Baptist, the greatest human Prophet. He is not Elias, the miracle working resurrector and multiplier of food who went up to heaven without dying. “And Peter answereth and saith unto Him, Thou art The Christ.” Saint Mark writes “Christos” the Greek word but Peter’s Aramaic or even Hebrew expression reflected the truth of all the Hebrew Scripture—Jesus is Messias!
And Luther asks “what does this mean?”
It means that Peter was saying that Jesus was GOD! Jesus was YHWH, I AM, as He revealed to Moses from the burning bush. Jesus was The Seed promised Eve, the suffering Servant written about by Esaias, the Ancient of Days spoken of by Daniel, the everlasting Son promised King David. To be LORD according to God’s Word is to be GOD the Author of said Word! Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, and The Word made Flesh! He in His Person and Work is THE CONFESSION. You don’t do the confessing Jesus did. You receive the Confession and you repeat it back: “Oh Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise!”
When the Apostle writes the Philippians that “Jesus Christ is Lord” he is saying by Holy Inspiration of the Spirit that the Nazarene, the anointed One (Christ) is God. Until this truth was so perverted, challenged and compromised by Arius and other heretics, the Church of The Lord always so testified. And after years of battle, persecution, and martyrdom, the Church again confessed, spoke back, with one mouth, what Jesus had first spoken into its heart. At Nicea and Constantinople, Peter’s Confession—your Confession, THE CONFESSION rang forth until Jesus returns: “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made. Being of one substance with The Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by The Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of The Father; And He shall come again with glory to Judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have not end.”
With angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven…The Blessed Virgin, Saint Mark, Saint Peter, you now Confess THE CONFESSION by receiving THE CONFESSION—in His true Body and real Blood. “As often as ye eat This Bread and drink This Cup: ye do show, i.e. “confess,” the Lord’s death till He come.”
This is The Gospel. This is THE CONFESSION.
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost