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FRONT-PORCH GOSPEL: The greatest answer

Good week to all. Welcome to the “front porch.”

Let’s take a walk today with the Lord on the shores of Caesarea Philippi.

He abruptly turns to his disciples and asks them whom men say he is. The Lord is well-known for getting right to the point, to cutting to the chase, as we say.

At such times, I am sure the disciples would often look around at each other with a confused look and with eyebrows raised.

The Lord’s questions were not always easy, because they were probing. You have to make sure you get the answer right when someone sets one of those questions before you. The Lord would ask: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Or, “What do you think about the Christ?” Or – one of my favorites: “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25).

As you see, there seldom was a right answer, and the questions, I’m sure, made the disciples more than a little nervous.

On this particular occasion there in Caesarea, they offer the Lord various answers they had heard in the market place or on the streets. The general consensus, they say, is that “You are Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the other great prophets.”

The Lord takes in those hypotheses, then – perhaps with the smile of the teacher who knows he is about to shatter all the students’ misconceptions – asks that wondrous age-old: “But whom do YOU say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

Perhaps there would have been an awkward silence had the others had to come up with an answer to that question, but not so with Peter. Unhesitatingly, Peter speaks up, as Matthew records: “Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).

In many ways Peter is like many of us: quick to speak, quick to misspeak, and quick to do the wrong thing. But in this case, maybe surprisingly, he does not misspeak nor do the wrong thing. He is not unsure, either, of what he is about to declare. His voice likely does not elevate at the end as if he is asking a question rather than giving a definitive, life-changing, character-defining answer.

Peter may be as sure of what he says as anything in the world. No truth in his mind is greater, makes more sense, or has more substance than the one he had just blurted out. And his answer does not even have the added benefit of being rehearsed in his mind a time or two before releasing it to the world. No, he said it without revision: “You, Sir, are the Christ. You are the Son of the living God.”

Coach Steven Bowen, a long-time Red Oak teacher and coach, now enjoys his time as a full-time writer and preacher of the gospel. In addition to his evangelistic travels, he works and writes for the Church of Christ of Red Oak at Uhl Road and Ovilla. Their worship times are 10 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 pm. Wednesdays. Email: or call or text 972-824-5197.

Ellis County Press

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