no more prejudice
From: Our Daily Journey
Many years ago, it was assumed that women could not play the French horn better than men. Their thoughts were challenged and disproved, however, when Julie Landsman auditioned for the role of principal French horn for the renowned Metropolitan Opera. During her audition, Landsman sat and played behind a screen—and played beautifully. After being declared the winner of the lead chair based on sound alone, she stepped out from behind the screen. The judges gasped! They didn’t expect to see a woman.
A couple millennia ago, James had to remind a group of believers in Jesus that they shouldn’t allow others’ outward appearances and their own inner prejudice to color how they view one another. He gently rebuked these believers: My brothers, stop judging one another according to first appearances. He called them brothers because they belonged to one another and because they had the same Father through Jesus. Based on this union and the character of God, they needed to stop evaluating and discriminating against people based on looks, ethnicity, culture, age, education, and socioeconomic status (Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 10:17). This type of treatment of one another was sinful, inconsistent with their faith in Jesus, betrayed the grace of God, and violated the law of love. For James, the answer to prejudice was to follow the example of Jesus: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Our heavenly Father is a God who shows no favoritism or partiality (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11), and He has forbidden prejudice and partiality among His children (Leviticus 19:15). Let’s stand together and fight the sin of prejudice by letting our love for God find full expression in our love for one another.
A man’s daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.
“I guess you were expecting me,” he said.
“No, who are you?”
“I’m the new associate at your local church,” the pastor replied.
“When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”
“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”
Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.
“I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man.
“But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head..”
“I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”
“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”
The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church.
Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.
“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.
“Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact, beyond strange-kinda weird.
Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.”
Today’s Scripture: Matthew 16:16
From: American Bible Society
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
13 Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 “Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.” 15 “What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 “Good for you, Simon son of John!” answered Jesus. “For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven. 18 And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. ” 20 Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. 21 From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life.” 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “God forbid it, Lord!” he said. “That must never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned around and said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don’t come from God, but from human nature.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. 25 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. 26 Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! There is nothing you can give to regain your life. 27 For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds. 28 I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King. ”
Verses 13-20 are often referred to as “Peter’s Confession.” How would you respond if someone were to ask you who Jesus is? Why does Jesus rebuke Peter after speaking to the disciples about his suffering and death?
Lord Jesus, I boldly confess that you are the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, the promised Savior who has come into the world. You suffered and died on a cross for my sake, but rose again so that I might have eternal life and dwell with you in glory. Amen.